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Katsu

2009/09/01

I am back from another wonderful weekend in Chicago and there were lots of tasty eats to write about. Thursday night was a trek to Katsu for what was some of the best sushi I’ve had to date. It was amazing. Located well away from anything touristy, it’s generally frequented by those in the Japanese community or those in the know. It also happens to be a favourite of the Wachowski brothers; so much so that they named a character in Speed Racer after Katsu. Katsu serves some of the freshest fish I’ve had the opportunity to have including some stuff sent from the Tsujiki fish market in Tokyo.

Sprouts in chilled clear broth

Sprouts in dashi

After ordering drinks (I started with a Sapporo Reserve), we were presented with a nice, little bowl of sprouts in dashi. The flavour of the dashi was subtle yet complex and was a nice way to whet the appetite.

Gyoza

Gyoza

Appetizers rolled in next, starting with gyoza filled with both meat and vegetables. The flavour was really nice but I would have preferred them just a little crispier. I think I just happened to get the one in the middle that is a pale golden colour instead of the better seared ones. My friends’ chopsticks were faster than mine!

Grilled Hamachi Jaw, Daikon

Grilled Hamachi Jaw, Daikon

The grilled hamachi (yellowtail) jaw that followed was divine! The smokiness from the grill nicely accentuated the richness of the jaw meat while the grated daikon and sauce was a refreshing reprieve. There was way more meat on the jaw than I expected. The four of us totally demolished this, including eating bits of crispy skin. I grabbed the fin and scored the little nugget of meat at the end of it. Think chicken oyster but about 20x better! Delicious! There was nothing left but a couple fins and a few bones at the end.

Delicious Egg Custard With Unagi Eel

Delicious Egg Custard With Unagi Eel


Delicious Egg Custard With Unagi Eel

Delicious Egg Custard With Unagi Eel

The menu description for this dish is as follows: “katsu’s chawan egg custard made with eel, ginkgo nut, shitake mushroom and kamaboko white fish cake.” Boy was it great. One bowl was enough for the four of us to split as we had so many dishes coming. The custard’s texture was beautiful. So silky and smooth. There are a lot of ingredients in this dish but everything was so well balanced. I was very impressed (and surprised) with what initially appeared so simple, when served and tasted was deceptively complex.

Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri Sushi

Appetizers were followed by a selection of nigiri sushi and a maki roll. The presentation was beautiful. I’ve never seen sushi glisten like that before! My favourites were the unagi, super premium yellowtail from Tsujiki in Tokyo, and the giant scallop with gold leaf and shiso. Now for the food porn interlude:

Spicy Napoleon Roll - Deep fried oyster

Spicy Napoleon Roll - Deep fried oyster


Super White Toro

Super White Toro


Chu-toro from Spain

Chu-toro from Spain


Top: Fresh Giant Sea Scallop from Seattle w/ gold leaf and shiso leaf  Bottom: Super Premium Yellowtail From Tsukiji Tokyo

Top: Fresh Giant Sea Scallop from Seattle w/ gold leaf and shiso leaf, Bottom: Super Premium Yellowtail From Tsukiji Tokyo

Unagi

Unagi

You’ll notice that the pieces of fish are quite large in comparison to the quantity of rice provided. I really enjoyed the generous portions! Look at that unagi! It was amazing! Best I’ve ever had.

Maki Rolls at Katsu

Maki Rolls at Katsu

After all the nigiri sushi we decided there was a little room left. A couple maki rolls were ordered. On the left was a Hakata roll – marinated mackerel with sushi ginger. I really enjoyed this roll including the hint of mint. A lighter-style roll which was welcomed after so much food. On the right was an Ume-Jiso octopus roll with plum sauce & shiso leaf. I was less fond of this roll, not because of the texture of the octopus (I love octopus), but because of the overwhelming nature of the shiso leaf. Not a roll that I would order again. We were very close to ordering another selection of unagi but our stomaches cried uncle.

My friends raved about Katsu during my previous visit to Chicago so I was thrilled to be able to have dinner with them there. It was everything I expected (and then some!), and I can’t wait to go again!

Next post: Lunch at Topolobampo!

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