Wako Donkasu: Is L.A.’s Best Japanese in Koreatown?
After seeing this blog post back in August, Wako Donkasu immediately went on to my “list”. I could say I’m a huge fan of katsu, but quite frankly who isn’t a huge fan of katsu? It’s boneless meat cutlets, breaded and deep fried. How can that be bad!? And even though smart money would send you to Sawtelle or Little Tokyo for the best Japanese food between Downtown and Santa Monica, Wako Donkasu is actually in Koreatown. Thankfully I learned pretty early that when deep fried meaty goodness is involved, it’s better not to ask too many questions.
There are actually two locations of Wako to choose from- the original, smaller, more old school location on Wilshire and Alexandria, and a newer more fancified location on Olympic and Fedora. But despite the Hekyl & Jekyl decors of the two locations, the menus are exactly the same. (Although I have to say I think I like the original location a tiny bit better… but that’s just me.)
Ordering the pork or chicken cutlet is the industry standard, and comes with rice and miso soup. Normally it’s $10, but both locations are having some kind of special that gives you $2 off. (Don’t mind if I do!)
The pork cutlet was moist and flavorful, and the batter is perfectly crispy on the outside. Way better than the version I had at Mr. Ramen (shocker!) It’s hard to imagine a more perfect katsu. It comes with a refreshing bed of shredded cabbage, topped with a nice ginger dressing, and two little side dishes of kimchi and soy sauce soaked Jalapenos. Good stuff.
And you get to grind your own sesame seeds for their special dipping sauce. (Aren’t we having fun!?)
If somehow that pretty huge lunch isn’t enough for you, there’s also a $12.95 combo option that comes with a bowl of udon soup plus a shrimp and potato kokoke. Of course you’ll almost never hear me say that ordering chicken is better than ordering pork, but you get twice as much chicken! And I’m pretty sure it’s all dark meat, so it was super flavorful and moist. The udon was real good too and what could be bad about a fried shrimp and a fried ball of mashed potatoes? But it is $3 over the ML price range, and a ridiculous amount of food- but they won’t let you share! In the end the $8 lunch special is perfectly satisfying, but you could totally justify the more expensive one by saying you’re going to take the leftovers home for dinner. (Good luck stopping yourself, though. I found it pretty hard to stop eating the katsu once I got started.)
In fact, you can stretch the meal even more (as if it needed to get any bigger.) The buddy who came with me had the brilliant idea of mixing rice into the crispy bits that collected on the plate along with the cabbage salad (you can ask for more, apparently). In a word: genius!
Truthfully, though, if I was going to splurge I would probably go for the chicken curry katsu ($11.95). Your double portion of chicken comes covered in a pretty awesome curry sauce that I liked better than Curry House or Hurry Curry of Tokyo.
There are other dishes to choose from at Wako, but if this terrible Yakisoba was any indication, I’d stick to the script. You came for the katsu, you should order the katsu. And you will most definitely return… for the katsu.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Best katsu in Los Angeles (even better than the Japanese places!)
- If quantity is your thing, order the chicken. You get twice as much!
- I think it’s fun that you get to grind your own sesame seeds. (And their dipping sauce is soooo good.)
- You get a shit ton of food, no matter what you order
- Better than any of the katsu in Little Tokyo or on Sawtelle
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Why can’t you share the combo!!! It’s too much food for one person…
- We’ll also accept: I’m a vegetarian. I don’t like fried foods. I’m a communist.
Wako Donkasu (Two Locations)
- 3377 Wilshire Blvd (and Alexandria), 213-381-9256
- 2904 W Olympic Blvd (and Fedora), 213-387-9256