As much as I love sushi, I also really love cooked Japanese comfort food. There's just something so delicate and simple about home cooked Japanese cuisine that always leaves me feeling beyond satisfied after these meals. One of my favorite classic Japanese and Korean dish is donkatsu (돈가스). Donkatsu originated from Japan and it consists of a deep-fried, breaded pork cutlet. It's one of Japan's classic dishes and there's a place here in NYC that does it just right, Katsu-Hama. Katsu-Hama sells classic Japanese comfort foods and has two locations here in the city. They have excellent lunch specials with good portions and the line to get seated is usually out the door... so let's get started!
FOOD: The food here is pretty darn delicious and satisfying! The portions are fairly big and the food quality is wonderful. I usually order the classic donkatsu platter which comes with a rice bowl and an endless cabbage salad. This time I tried the donkatsu with American cheese in it and even though the first few bites were gooey, hot, and yummy... I decided I'd just stick with the classic because I ended up not liking the cheese very much. The curry came in a huge boat-like dish with rice underneath. Donkatsu and curry pair really well together and I love dipping the donkatsu pieces into the curry. I've tried some of their appetizers as well, but I think their classic donkatsu and curry entrees are the most popular and the most delicious.
SERVICE: They seat you fairly quickly and the servers also work very quickly. They're quick to get you a refill of the cabbage salad that usually comes with the donkatsu. Since the restaurant itself is always really busy with people coming in out, they're not that attentive but I don't have any huge complaints about their service.
ATMOSPHERE: I don't know what it is about Katsu-Hama but immediately when I walk in it feels nostalgic and like home. Maybe it's because I used to go to a lot of cozy Japanese restaurants in NYC when I was younger but I love how clean and dim it is in there. The lighting isn't ideal for photos but it is very warm and cozy in there... perfect for a date! ;)
VALUE: It's a fairly good deal if you go here during their lunch hours! They have awesome lunch deals and since a lot of customers work near the area... they're usually in and out quickly which is great when there's a line. Apparently, their portions have gotten smaller but I still think the portions are fine here. I believe, around lunch time the donkatsu is $11-13 and during the dinner time it ranges from $14-17.
OVERALL: If you're ever craving donkatsu, I would definitely recommend this cute little place. The food you get here is pretty straight-forward and its not the best thing I've eaten necessarily, but I absolutely LOVE it and it's one of my favorites here in the city. It's just Japanese comfort food and Katsu-Hama definitely does donkatsu right!