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
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).