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.
2904 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006