There are 2 Katsu-Hama locations in NYC, one on 47th and another one on 55th. I have been to both locations, and I do feel and believe the one on 47th is more “traditional” with interior decoration, service, and the staff who works there (Japanese staff). Most of the basic offerings are the same, but 55th offer ramen and other additional menu, while 47th offer more varieties of traditional Japanese food.
We went to the one on 47th for lunch, sine we were craving some Japanese food in that area. (Read my review on 55th location at http://www.foodlovergirl.com/katsu-hama/) The entrance area is rather narrow, as soon as you walk in, you see a long counter tables, starting with bar counter, then to sushi counter. After the counter seats are more open space, with tables and chairs, but not that large space. They only have windows at the entrance, so it is kind of dark in the inside, which they try to make up for with lots of lighting fixtures.
The interior is rather simple, with light and dark wood, and not much artwork or anything on the wall to look at. There is also one section by the entrance for a group seating. Since it is separated from the main eating area, I assume it can provide enough privacy from the rest of the restaurant noise and such.
We ordered from the lunch special menu, Chicken Katsu Curry ($14) and Pork Fillet Katsu Donburi ($14). The curry comes with shredded cabbage, very fresh, which you can get a free refill if you want more. But, the amount of shredded cabbage they bring you is quite large, so I don’t think you will need a refill… The curry came in an interesting shaped plate, almost like a vessel or canoe of some sort… It was a bit had to eat out of this plate. I assume that with this shape, they can offer a little less amount of curry and katsu without looking like it is less than it used to be? I might be wrong, but I couldn’t figure out why they decided to change to this plate… The curry itself didn’t have much other than the curry gravy, and chicken katsu. When I cook curry at home, I like to have lots of veggies and other ingredients in it, so it is more hearty, but maybe they don’t want all that to compete against their katsu. Their specialty, katsu, was really great as usual. Lightly fried, crunchy on the outside, moist and juicy in the inside. Just wish if they provided more amount of katsu…it (the small amount) looked a bit sad.
The Pork Fillet Katsu Donburi comes with miso soup and pickles, with free refill on the miso soup. Unless the miso soup is really amazing, I don’t really see people getting refill of miso soup that much… Their miso soup was ok, just a normal soup, nothing special. the katsu don was really good, with pork filled lightly fried, then cooked with rice and onion in a broth, then put over rice. I always liked katsu don since I was little, they do a good katsu don here. It has some volume, so you will be full after you finish the donuri. I feel like this dish has more value than the curry, at the same price point. It is more filling and have more flavors & texture.
The service is not great, but it is ok. It is always better when it is less busy, as most of all places you go to. Once it gets even just a little bit busy, the service gets slow, and you have to catch a server to get you more water… The food was good, maybe not so much the curry, but katsu is always consistently good, no matter in what form: with curry, donburi, or just katsu alone without anything else. They do know how to do katsu, so if you want to try out some good katsu, you should head over to one of their locations!
Katsu-Hama – 11 E 47th St, New York, NY 10017