Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pork katsu don (Ajia Japanese)

Pork katsu don

Things that are delicious to me... pork and things that are fried. Combine the two and you have an instant recipe for success, a formula for food that's pretty much impossible to fuck up. That food is pork katsu. When you add -don to that and put it over a giant bowl of soy sauce + sugar rice... well then you pretty much just made me the happiest Asian boy this side of the Pacific. Since my regular diet consists of basically ice cream, cheesesteaks, burgers, and Chinese food, I was pretty excited to grab some fat-laden fried pork at a local Japanese joint called 'Ajia.'

Little did I know that it was actually possible to screw up frying a piece of pork. First off, the lunch special is like $8. Now I realize to most people that's not exactly putting a hurt on the wallet, but I'm working the poor graduate student angle here (so visit, and make others visit, often!)... that's like 4 tacos from Don Memo. Know something? Their katsu don isn't 4 tacos good. In fact, it's not good at all. The cutlet comes out dripping in oil (in a bad way), the panko breadcrumbs are less than crunchy, and the pork is uninspiring and dry... despite an oil spill that could put BP to shame. How the hell do you screw up something SO EASY?

When you consider the issue of portion sizing (let's say they believe strongly in portion control), and the fact that they basically give you a bowl half-filled with onions... you end up with a giant (by which I mean medium sized) bowl of fail. Have I mentioned it was doused in oil? Because it was doused in oil.

California roll

California rolls as appetizers! I'm not really sure what to say about these aside from the fact that I probably shouldn't have eaten them (BUT THEY WERE FREE). With my slight seafood allergy in tow, I stupidly ate several pieces, not even for the sake of blogging... but for the sake of being a cheap Asian. Uh, these were pretty much wasted calories. I went home and scratched like an idiot, but with zero satisfaction. Usually when I go to dim sum and eat tons of seafood, I go home itchy as hell, but I'm usually okay with it because the food was fucking incredible. Not this time. I mean, they taste fine and all, but... let's just say... I am disappoint.

Japanese food has never made me so sad before.


Anonymous said...

what frustrates me most about Philly is that it is SEVERELY LACKING in legit Japanese fewd & sushi... It totally breaks me heart, and is the cause of my Japanese dorm-cooking attempts >.<

Caitlin said...

a blog post has never made me so sad before. i want to go back to japan where the japanese food is always decent. ;_;

joanh said...

you're allergic to seafood?!! the california rolls look ok, but the tonkatsu looks so thin!

Sherry said...

Haha oh Ajia. Do they still have the AYCE there? I never really liked their sushi, but compared to Pod, it's cheaper.

Nicholas said...

munchimonster - admittedly, I haven't really done my part to check out the Japanese scene in Philly (def not a fan of Pod and it's pseudo ramen), but yeah... for sure it's no NYC.

Caitlin - oh yeah, it made me sad too. Sucks that you had to leave the mecca of Japanese food (i.e. JAPAN) to come back here haha.

joanh - ever so slightly. I just get hella itchy. I usually ignore it/weigh the risk vs. benefits and go for it.

Sherry - yeah I think they still have that, but it's $24 now. Pod is $25... so not really too big a difference.

Littlest Stephy said...

If you are ever in the Germantown/Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia you have to give Osaka a try. Their sushi is TOP notch and their Japanese cuisine is really amazing. They are a little pricey but it is worth every bit. They have this Kobe beef appetizer that blows my mind every time I try it.

Just down the road is Hokka Hokka whom also packs a delicious punch but I absolutely recommend Osaka to anyone who can venture out and LOVES Japanese food.

Sherm said...

I was just looking at the "About" section and you said to comment so....yeah. Like the blog, too. From the Philly area so maybe I'll be able to concur or disagree with you about our cuisine or whatever.

Kevin said...

I went to Ajia a couple of times for their AYCE sushi. It wasn't bad, but the place was always empty whenever I went, so I got uneasy about getting sushi from a place with such seemingly low turnover. Anyway, my dad was not very satisfied with his chicken teriyaki that he ordered from Ajia.

Nicholas said...

The Littlest Stephy - Argh, I probably don't have an excuse (or car) to reach that area of Philly. Which sucks, since Center City and University City are both pretty weak when it comes to Japanese cuisine.

Sherm - werd, by no means is my blog an authority on, well... anything, and everything I write is opinion, soooo... if you disagree with anything, that's chill with me.

Kevin - I heard their AYCE went up in price too, which is wack considering how little business they get. All I know is, I probably won't be going back.

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