I've never been the biggest fan of Teri Cafe, which I've always thought served low second tier Americanized, Japanese food with sort, kinda, maybe, a plate lunch-ish touch. There were however, folks who really felt that I was totally wrong and they've let me know that over the years. So, I finally decided to circle back to Teri Cafe and give them a serious shot, just no "rolls" or ramen for me. I was in for quite a surprise.
So, first things first. The miso woup here was heinously bad, watered down, lukewarm and without flavor.
Second, my yakisoba was delivered and I was given a fork and spoon....no chopsticks, which I had to go and get.
The noodles were decent, but overall this wasn't nearly as good as what I had here before, which wasn't all that great anyway. The flavor was on the bland side, I like my yakisoba to have hints of worcestershire and the flavor here was faint. It also lacked any of the typical garnishes like pickled ginger. I was content with the chicken, which could have been cooked a bit more to give it a bit of crust, but it was fairly moist. I was glad the teriyaki sauce was on the side as the version here tastes a bit too heavy in soy and is pretty salty.
As I was leaving I was surprised to see the change of ownership notification......
And a few days later, Teri Cafe became Katsu Cafe. So why not check it out, right?
It was exactly the same restaurant, menu, decor......
Ironically, "Katsu" isn't on the menu per se; it's still listed as Chicken Cutlet and Pork Cutlet on the menu. I recall being corrected once when I ordered the Chicken Katsu, "you mean, the chicken cutlet...."
Well, to check on the namesake, sort of, I ordered the Chicken Katsu Cutlet ($8.65). It was nice to see that I was provided chopsticks by the really friendly....extra friendly, like everyone suddenly took happy pills friendly, girls here.
And guess what, they brought me chopsticks without having to ask for them!
You really can't fault the portion size, though that green salad is much too large and the dressing too thin and sour. The potato-mac salad on the other hand is decent, but seems to have a bit of a citrus taste to it that I really don't care for.
The chicken could have been fried a while longer, it was too light in color and soft. Much of it peeled away from the chicken, meaning the product was probably too cold when breaded. The sauce tasted like by-the-book bottled katsu sauce, which is not a bad thing. All-in-all, it was sustenance.
One big improvement; the miso soup, while still not great, at least had more flavor and was served hot.
This was certainly not a bad lunch; so I decided to return.
Tonkatsu, ummmm Pork Cutlet ($8.65):
Basically the same production as the previous visit with the miso soup and salads. This time however, they had done a nice fry job on the pork. The panko was crisp and sported a nice color. Just based on the portion size and price point, I didn't expect this to be say; Kayaba, and it was not, as the pork was on the dry side, though it was adequately tender.
So where does Katsu Cafe rank? Well kinda in the Chopstix category for me. It's not bad, the portions are fairly large, the staff seemed a lot more friendly...the owner was bouncing around contantly talking on his phone rather loudly, checking the television, the doors, everything but the customers on both visits; kind of like he didn't feel comfortable talking to them..... Personally, based on these two visits, I think it's a bit better than it was, perhaps new blood has provided a bit of fire. Plus, I overheard the owner talking loudly on the phone that he was replacing Pepsi with Coke.
So perhaps I'll drop in every once in a while to see if they start calling their Cutlet, Katsu.......
7305B Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111