For this Hawai'i transplant, few dishes are as comforting as crispy katsu-- bite-sized pieces of breaded, deep-fried chicken or pork. The Japanese dish reminds me of days spent on the beach with sand between my toes and the weight of a hefty styrofoam plate lunch container of katsu and white rice on my lap. As such, the rave reviews of Koreatown's Wako Donkasu from friends and fellow bloggers thrilled me. With my love Christine of folie a choisauce as my lunch date, I recently visited Wako Donkasu to see how their katsu stacks up to my favorites from home.
Although many restaurants in Koreatown opt for spartan decor, Wako Donkasu's design is relaxing, featuring natural materials and hanging paper lanterns. Once inside, I quickly forgot that the restaurant was located on a busy intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and felt zen and ready to eat.
Christine ordered the chicken katsu lunch combination ($7.95), which came with a salad, pickled vegetables and udon. Although the outer layer was perfectly crispy, the chicken itself remained delightfully moist and decidedly un-greasy (a peril of katsu-eating).
I ordered the tonkatsu (pork katsu) lunch combination ($8.95), served with rice and miso soup. The tonkatsu, like the chicken katsu, was both crispy and light but was also chewier and presented a more satisfying bite. Almost as important as the katsu itself is the katsu sauce, and Wako's is outstanding. The maroon-colored sauce was fluffy and sweet rather than tangy and watery as with chain restaurants and was enhanced by fresh-ground sesame seeds. As I ate, I found myself hard-pressed to remember eating a better katsu and have settled on the fact that this is, indeed, the best in both this state and the 808.
Although I ate at Wako Donkasu almost a month ago, the meal was so deliciously memorable that it feels as though it was only yesterday...and now I drool a little bit every time I drive past it.
3377 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 112
Los Angeles, CA 90010