We took our colleague David out for lunch yesterday cause he's jumping ship. Sad for us he's leaving, but happy cause we used it as an excuse to make a little excursion to Katsuhama. You see, I work all the way on 1st avenue in midtown, which means that it has to be a pretty special occasion to go all the way to 5th Avenue (crossing 2nd, 3rd Aves, then Lex, Park and Madison- whew!).

Katsuhama is a little non-descript looking restaurant that looks like a Japanese take-out bento place from the outside. But don't be fooled! Keep walking past all the people waiting in line for sushi packs (no tuna please!- sarcastic face here), and you will find yourself in a little wonderland of yellow walls and cute hanging paper lights. They specialize in tonkatsu, which is deep fried pork loin- Japan's ultimate comfort food, and I would probably say that it's the best in town (not very many places in NY serve tonkatsu).

They give you a little Japanese version of a mortar and pestle, that is used specifically for grinding sesame seeds-- it's a fun and campy way to wait for your fatty meat lunch to arrive. Here's a demonstration:

Ryo told us that in Japan, to "goma suri" or grind sesame seeds, is to bullshit someone. We pondered that for a minute.

Our food came out super quick-- let the meat fest begin! I got the menchi-katsu, which is basically a deep fried beef/pork/onion hamburger. Yum.

Everyone else got the tonkatsu. We all shared.

Mix their special sauce into the sesame seeds, and dip away! I like mine with a lethal dose of that yellow mustard. The cabbage is a must have with tonkatsu, as it eases the fattiness from all that deep fried meat you're consuming. The waitstaff even walks around a plate of cabbage and tongs to serve you more! So cute!

After Bittman's preaching about cutting down on meat intake I actually felt kinda bad after this meal. But not that bad. I save tonkatsu for special occasions, and it helped eased the pain that David's deserting us.

11 E 47th St (btwn 5th and Madison)
New York, NY 10017
(212) 758-5909
Lunch: $15-20
*Expect to wait at least 5 minutes to be seated.