LOCATION: Smorgasburg LA (777 South Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021)
I remember the first time that I stumbled across Katsu Sando was from a Thrillist LA video on Facebook, featuring these breaded pork cutlet sandwiches. At the time, I remember wondering what all the hype was about and kept scrolling through my news feed.
Fast forward to earlier this month walking around Smorgasburg LA and what do I find? The very same Katsu Sando from that video, along with my opportunity to see if it lived up to the hype. In addition to the pork katsu, it looked like they had also brought their chicken katsu, mushroom katsu, Wagyu beef patty katsu, and the $75 holy grail: A5 wagyu beef katsu.
We made the mistake of taking a pass on the place the first time around because by the time that we had circled back, they had sold out of everything except for the kurobuta pork katsu sandwich. My friend Kevin and I had still managed to save enough room to split one of the sandwiches, so we picked one up while we still could. I guess it’s probably in the best interest for my wallet that the A5 wagyu beef sandwich had sold out, because I was very tempted to go in on one just to try it for the novelty.
Kurobuta pork is sometimes called the “wagyu beef of pork,” with more flavorful and juicy meat than what comes from a normal pig. And I can definitely attest to how much of a difference that quality of meat made when taking that first bite into the sandwich. Served up on their toasted honey milk bread, the kurobuta pork katsu had a thin, but crispy layer of breading on the outside, coupled together with shredded cabbage, mayo, and katsu sauce. Each bite left you wanting to go back in more.
From a flavor standpoint, the kurobuta pork had almost a natural slight sweetness, while the katsu sauce helped inject additional sweet, savory, and tart notes into the mix. The shredded cabbage helped serve to balance out some of the crunch and oil from the katsu breading, while the mayo helped provide a smooth texture and savory flavor that tied everything together. It only took a few bites, but I was turned into a Katsu Sando believer.
Funny how things would come full circle, from watching that Thrillist video all the way to stumbling across the vendor pop-up while in LA. It’s too bad that they were already sold out of their other items by the time we stopped by, but the pork katsu sandwich more than lived up to the hype. With a great balance between texture and flavor, each sandwich just kept you wanting to go back in for more. If you happen across their pop-up while out and about, definitely make a point to give Katsu Sando a try.
Let’s now take a look at the Katsu Sando Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
And finally, here are my rankings for Katsu Sando:
Food: 4.75 / 5
What more can I say that I haven’t already mentioned above? Even if the sandwich was basic in concept, it was certainly dynamic in flavors. Sweet and savory flavors all rolled into one neat package, with the breading on the katsu just enough to give it a satisfying crunch.
With over 60+ food vendors at the outdoor market, that definitely attracts quite the crowd. Tons of people standing in lines, sitting down and eating, and different food smells coming from all directions. Just the sea of food choices alone made it hard to choose what to go for.
Service: 4.25 / 5
The person taking the orders at the front was pretty upbeat and friendly. It also looked like the pork was being dropped into the fryer to order, so although we had to wait a little bit for our food, I’d say it didn’t take more than three or four minutes.
Price: 4.5 / 5
I remember staring at the size of some people’s sandwiches as they were walking away from the booth, wondering if I could eat a whole sandwich on my own. Ultimately, I think the right decision was to split one. But you certainly get more than your money’s worth for what you pay.