Katsu-Hama is serious about its katsu. The only restaurant in town to specialize in Japanese-style fried pork cutlets, they offer only a short menu dominated by katsu. They tout their high-quality meat, organic eggs, carefully selected frying oils, even breadcrumbs made from fresh house-baked bread. “The result was indeed a cut above any other katsu I’ve had in New York,” says Peter Cherches, who describes a delicious pork cutlet lunch ($10 with rice, pickles, shredded cabbage with sprightly carrot-sesame dressing, and a daily-changing miso soup).
For neophytes, Peter describes the katsu ritual: you are brought a bowl of toasted sesame seeds and a pestle. Grind the seeds and add tonkatsu sauce (made daily from onion, tomato, apples, and spices) to taste. Dip the pork into the sauce, and enjoy.
Also on the menu: katsudon (katsu over rice), katsu with curry sauce, tori kara nanban (fried chicken with soy vinaigrette), and kushi-age (fried skewers) of shrimp, smelt, tuna, Berkshire pork, scallop, salmon, chicken, shiitake, and more.
Not everyone is won over. “There is way better katsu out there. Just not in New York, I guess,” shrugs Peter Cuce.