Stepping into the food court in Koreatown Plaza, you won’t find any of the usual chains – no Panda Express, Sbarro, Hot Dog on a Stick, nor Chipotle. Instead of an international grouping of various cuisines, you’ll get Korean, Korean and a Japanese place here and there. Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore. If you’re like me, unfamiliar with Korean food and have a notoriously picky kid in tow, you’ll probably wind up at either the sushi place or where we did – Tonkatsu House.
Even though it was one of the few menus that looked familiar, prices were not listed. I ordered a couple of dishes and was handed one of those light-up numbers. My daughter chose a basic udon bowl, with tofu and fishcakes. It was nothing too exciting, though the noodle portion was plentiful. The most interesting thing was the dish of pickled veggies that came with it. I have no idea what they were – pickled radish of some sort? – but my daughter refused to try them.
I ordered the kid’s meal, normally not something I would stoop to doing, but the portion looked generous enough to fill my belly. The cutlet was pounded very thin, much thinner than the normal tonkatsu, more like a schnitzel, and came with rice, salad hiding under a blanket of Thousand Island dressing and what I thought was macaroni and cheese. Surprise! Instead of mouthful of hot cheesy pasta, I discovered the yellow pasta was actually macaroni salad. Two sauces accompanied the cutlet – one was brown and similar to the usual tonkatsu sauce, though more bland because it lacked Worcestershire sauce. I’m not even sure what the light-colored sauce was and probably will never know.
The adult tonkatsu plate had the biggest cutlet I’ve ever seen – probably two cutlets that filled the gigantic plate and could easily feed two. “Wow!” exclaimed the boy at the table next to us when they got theirs. Me, I was rendered speechless.
Was it the best tonkatsu I’ve ever had? Well, no, but at least I knew what I was eating and didn’t have to worry that the spiciness level was going set my mouth on fire. Hopefully I’ll be brave enough next time to try my luck at one of the Korean places. If you never try, you’ll never know.
Location – 928 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles 90006
Website – none
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – Yes
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – No
Gluten-Free Options – No