Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Sweet Donburis - Katsudon @ Yoshino And An Oyakodon @ Mitsuru (L.A.)

If I'd describe my perfect Katsudon, that'd be starting with a perfectly fried pork cutlet, hopefully a rousu cut with a nice band of fat on one side. This would be simmered in a robust broth with sweeter pronounced kaeshi ratio together on a bed of sliced sweet onions. All would then be sealed with an egg that hasn't been over mixed so you end up with a yin-yang marble of delicious creamy yolkage and fluffy/wiggly half-done whites. Would also personally prefer a portion of the katsu to be left uncovered so to enjoy some saku-saku contrast of crispy.

So far it's been hard to find one that perfectly fits my ideal in SD or L.A. For me what usually falls short is a robust broth, or the lack thereof. Donburi-mono or the "all-in-one bowl meal" is archetype working class cuisine. Refinement is always welcomed, but not subtlety.

My nicknamed Yoshino's "Jumbo" Katsudon ($7.45) fits the bill for me when I'm in the mood for this stronger flavored. The simmer broth admittedly seems it could be deeper in the dashi category but I find it to have enough "rice craving potency" to easily conquer the large portion generously served in a wide soba vessel.

The rest of their menu is fairly straight forward slight Americanized Japanese fair which I honestly haven't explored much of. But the made from scratch tasting Miso Soup with stronger bonito flavor is good enough for me to want to return.

Too bad they don't have an Oyakodon, but it'd probably be hard for me not to order the Katsudon again...

...Where I'd ritualistically save the last cutlet piece to use as a squeegee at the end. :)

Yoshino Japanese Restaurant, 1790 W. Washington St, San Diego, CA 92103

The next photo set from Mitsuru Sushi & Grill is pretty old, in fact I hope they're doing well. I think they're most busy during the mornings where Mitsuru is one of the few places in Little Tokyo open early enough for breakfast. Speaking with the waitress it seemed the longtime older regulars were dwindling year to year and the newer generation customer not exactly growing. It'd be really sad to see a place with such quirky charm go away. To me the place is so perfectly "L.A." that it's almost preservation worthy.

A blend of Americana counter service with a quiet Sushi bar tucked around the entrance corner, serving everything from your typical mom and pop So. Cal. Japanese offerings, to diner classics such as Liver & Onions, to even off menu Mexican food courtesy of the chef. He was actually a great character where he stuck his head out the kitchen window and asked me almost in a whisper if I liked Menudo... ;) Awesomeness.

Too bad I wasn't in the mood for it at the time because I would've bet it was indeed good. The choice instead was an Oyakodon ($7.50) from their daily changing specials menu.

Quite voluminous, full of medium cut chicken pieces (tender thigh portion) and although the eggs were well done (as in completely cooked through) they were still fluffy and not stiff.

I'd be honest and say the tsuyu was probably much too sweet for most Japanese. But food not always need be authentic to be good. It just needs to hit that spot, and in this particular case for me it did excellently well. As for "bring the bowl up to your face and bulldoze food in your mouth" style donburi's go, I prefer slightly over seasoned than under nine times out of ten.

Mitsuru Sushi & Grill, 316 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

A comical 'How I Eat Katsudon' explanation on Cooking Papa...

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!


K and S said...

that oyakodon surely looked huge!

KirkK said...

Hey Dennis - Yoshino's has a type of Americanized Japanese fare that harkens to a different time.... they tend to really saturate the Katsu-don though!

Dennis K. said...

Hi Kat! It was. But too bad it's hard to get the sense of scale of Yoshino's Katsudon, because it's just as large or more so. The bowl is the size for an Okinawa Soba!

Hi Kirk! It was actually only my second time here and I ordered the same thing. I know where to go when I'm in the mood for a saturated katsudon.. :)