Thursday, August 18, 2011

Going Wako for Fried Pork: Wako Donkasu

It just so happened that while I was on a fried pork binge (albeit a Oaxacan one), Jonathan Gold published a review of a Koreatown tonkatsu restaurant. I'm a big fan of tonkatsu, the Japanese, panko breaded, deep fried pork cutlet. The stuff is ubiquitous here in Koreatown, but most of it is sub-par - tough, dry meat, fried to death and buried in goopy sauce. But not so Wako Donkasu.

Wako Donkasu, on Olympic a few blocks east of Normandie, is a mostly Japanese style donkatsu. The only trace of Korean cuisine are two very small but very good panchan: a tangy radish kimchi and a wonderfully garlicky dish of sliced, pickled jalapeños.

The pork is tender and juicy with a light, crispy crust. For the sauce, you are initially given a bowl of freshly roasted sesame seeds with a wooden pestle to pulverize them with. The waiter then dumps the sauce on top and you mix the sesame seeds throughout, which gives the sweet and fruity (but not overly gloppy) sauce a nice nutty fragrance.

We also tried the fried New York strip which was also excellent. It was fried just as carefully as the pork but packed in even more flavor and had better contrast when combined with the sauce.

The combo comes with a fried protein (pork, beef or chicken), a pile of cabbage salad, soba noodles, a fried shrimp and a fried potato ball (think fried mashed potatoes). The soba was fine, but nothing special. The things to get here are the fried meats.

This place is dangerously close to where I work and live. I see lots of fried pork in my future.

Wako Donkasu
2904 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 387-9256


Anonymous said...


This is the Tony Bourdain/Ozersky of Korean and World cuisine. Be sure to hit the yahoo translate button.

Maybe you'll come visit Korea.

Also, the Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project is at Green Jug and K&L now. Do you have any suggestions to which ones are good? JHansell likes the odd #'s 67 and 99 I believe.


sku said...

Thanks for the link Anon. I hadn't seen that. I would love to visit Korea someday.

I won't be trying the first release of the Single Oak until next month, but I hope to post something once I sample it. Unfortunately, you probably need to grab it as soon as it's available if you want it. I had thought most places are selling it only by the case.

Anonymous said...

Thanks SKU!

Green Jug has them for sale individually for $99.99 which is a rip off. I might as well just order and ship from The Party Source in Louisville.

igundown received Yahoo's blog of the year award. Great photos and fair, unbiased reviews.