Monday, January 30, 2012
Torrance and Koreatown may be the two neighborhoods/cities in Southern California with the greatest concentration of specialist restaurants due to their concentration of Japanese and Korean restaurants and the popularity of such restaurants in those cultures. Kagura in Torrance is arguably the preeminent Katsu specialist; in addition to pork katsu, there is chicken katsu and a millefeuille pork katsu, which like the pastry has layer upon layer within the breading, only in this case layers of sliced black pork loin cutlet, not pastry. If you prefer your fried food in seafood form, oyster cutlets, salmon cutlets and crab cream croquette are all available to be fried to order.
I recently had the Chicken Oroshi Katsu Gozen lunch ($12.95) which is a deep fried free range chicken cutlet served with a radish ponzu sauce. The accompaniments are sliced cabbage, steamed grain rice, pickled vegetables, tofu and another veggie. A pork miso soup was also included but was not sampled.
The cutlet itself was a thing of beauty. Lightly fried, the cutlet arrived on a metal grate, so that the breading would not separate from the chicken cutlet due to steam and to facilitate saucing. The breading was nice and crispy and remarkably free of grease. The radish ponzu sauce added to the salty crunchy flavor by adding another layer of taste as well as cooling the piping hot katsu. The cutlet itself is quite large; this is not a light lunch, more the type of meal you want to come home and take a nap after eating.
Service was friendly and efficient and everyone in the restaurant seemed to be eating katsu of some form or another. Toyko Katsu is written on the sign above the name of the restaurant, in case you were wondering what to order.
Kagura: 1652 Cabrillo Avenue @ Carson St, Torrance. 310.787.0227 | Kagura Website