8 W. 18th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-255-0018
There are almost as many versions of fried pork cutlet “katsu” in this swine-mad town as there are varieties of ramen. But you won’t find a more faithfully Japanese version of this great comfort dish than the $17 “rosu katsu teishoku” served at the new Manhattan branch of the Tokyo restaurant chain Ootoya in the Flatiron district. It begins with the finest heritage-breed pork, of course, which the chefs cloak in a feathery mixture of the restaurant’s “original” panko bread crumbs. The cutlet is served on a lacquered tray, in classic teishoku style, with shredded cabbage, a wedge of lemon, and a bowl of perfectly calibrated, sticky-soft rice. But the clincher is the proprietary semisweet, hoisin-style sauce that binds the different elements of the dish together, like some ethereal form of barbecue sauce.
From the 2013 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine