It’s true that we’ve been talking a lot about pork on the show lately. Even so, LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold takes us to the izakaya Kagura in Torrance this week for a pork cutlet of the Viennese-Japanese persuasion.
You’re probably no stranger to tonkatsu as it is fairly common on menus at Japanese restaurants. Tonkatsu is typically a pork fillet or cutlet that’s been pounded and dipped in panko batter and then deep-fried until it crisps to a beautiful golden crackly texture. Mastering the perfect tonkatsu is a Japanese art form in itself.
The Teishokuya of Tokyo restaurant group operates several locations. At the Kagura in Torrance, you’ll have the option of choosing from four types of tonkatsu on the gozen (set) menu. Sure, there are the standard cuts like loin and fillet, but Jonathan recommends starting with Kagura’s signature millefeuille-style tonkatsu, which is layer upon layer of paper-thin sheets of pork that have been stacked, lightly coated in batter and perfectly deep-fried. It is served with shredded cabbage and it is meant to be dipped in “tonkatsu sauce,” a flavorful blend of fruit, vegetables and spices to which you can add karashi (spicy mustard) or toasted sesame seeds.
Or, if you’re off the pork diet this week, Kagura has a full menu of other items you can try like the hockey puck-sized potato croquettes filled with melted cheese or the uni (sea urchin) cream sauce spaghetti, which Jonathan says is one of the best in town. For those preferring more traditional Japanese fare, there’s the agedashi mochi or the mushroom kamameshi (mixed rice) that cooks in a clay pot at your table over a small hibachi grill. Be sure to remember to order it at the start of your meal since it takes 45 minutes to cook.
Since no meal is truly complete without a sweet treat (at least for some of us on the “Good Food” team), the tonkatsu specialists at Kagura have found a way to fry up banana tonkatsu for dessert. It is served with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.
Recommendations: Jonathan recommends the pork loin and millefeuille-style tonkatsu, the potato-cheese croquettes, the uni cream spaghetti, the mixed mushroom kamameshi, the agedashi mochi and the banana tonkatsu.
Location: 1652 Cabrillo Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501 | (310) 787-0227