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Cutlet House

Posted by Devon Scoble / Reviewed on April 14, 2009 / review policy

Cutlet HouseAll week I'd been working myself up for Korean, which brought me to Cutlet House, a new restaurant in the remains of what was once I-Noodle. Cutlet House specializes in Korean cutlets, serving them in pork, beef, chicken and fish versions.

These thin breaded cutlets, known in Korea as Donkasseu, are the Korean version of Tonkatsu, which is the Japanese version of schnitzel. Lost in translation? Me too. Unfortunately, the best way I can describe Cutlet House's Donkasseu is with a quintessentially Canadian word: meh.

20090413-cutlet-house-donkasseu.gifServed with suspicious speed, my pork was dark-edged and chewy enough to taste like it'd been waiting for me for quite a while. Smothered in an overripe fruit sauce and plated with rice, potato and fresh green salad, the Donkasseu left me underwhelmed.

In fact, the most interesting thing I have to say about the whole experience is that writing about it just taught me that underwhelmed is actually a word. For the last 16 years I've assumed Sloan's lexicography was right, believing that people only used it as breezy reference to their 1992 hit, Underwhelmed:

She was underwhelmed if that's a word,
I know it's not 'cause I looked it up

I will say this though - Cutlet House is the kind of place I really want to like. My server was so friendly I feel guilty I didn't like the food. So I'll throw this one out: the salad was excellent. And, they have a pretty good selection of Korean-style Chinese food and a nice, clean dining room.

If I had ordered this dish in a hurry, I'd be pleased with the quick service, and rapid delivery of my massive slab of pork. That said, next time I'm in this hood and looking for lunch, I'm going to check out another place - like The Grill Pit, which is just a stone's throw away. Oh, and after that, I'm going to head over to one of these places, and maybe see about a new dictionary, too.




Jack S. / April 14, 2009 at 02:06 pm
No guilt! A great server can happen to work at a restaurant with a bad chef or bad management. Just leave a good tip and don't go back.
ddt / April 14, 2009 at 02:36 pm
user-pic too....awesome friendly knowledgeable service,but the food, not so much.....not really horrible, just not really great, i dunno.I think i want to like the idea of it.
pwik pwok / April 14, 2009 at 02:38 pm
FINALLY! A review that isn't afraid of writing the truth: i.e., writing something negative about the food.

To be honest, I'm a bit sick of all the glowing reviews by BlogTO writers. There's usually two reasons for this: (1) the writer has a financial stake in the restaurant being reviewed; and/or (2) the writer knows next to nothing about the cuisine (and so can't distinguish between good and bad food).

Thank you Devon Scoble! BlogTO needs more writers like you!
Gloria replying to a comment from pwik pwok / April 14, 2009 at 02:58 pm
Yes, reviews which you disagree with are only ever results from conspiracy/idiocy -- certainly not because somebody simply has tastes different from yours, or is writing from a perspective -- e.g. cheap value -- that doesn't place food on the very highest pedestal.

BTW, as far as I know, a specific type of cuisine's goodness/badness isn't *always* defined by how closely it adheres to culinary canon (that would be "authentic"). If it's tasty, it's "good."
pwik pwok replying to a comment from Gloria / April 14, 2009 at 03:29 pm
Oh it's Gloria. I must have hit a nerve. LOL. You're too funny.
Carthy / April 14, 2009 at 05:09 pm
Another reason for all positive reviews: some publications/sites feel why give it ink (so to speak) if it's no good? Save the precious space and eyeball time for things that deserve it.
ddt / April 14, 2009 at 05:53 pm
i think gloria works there
Al Hunter / April 14, 2009 at 07:08 pm
The cutlet in the photo looks overly deep fried with dry and chewy edges, covered with a suspicious gravy. Not appetizing at all.
stampi / April 15, 2009 at 12:51 am
<i>To be honest, I'm a bit sick of all the glowing reviews by BlogTO writers. </i>

As someone who used to write food reviews for BlogTO, I'll hop in to talk about my personal policy on that matter: I ate at some very crappy restaurants while I was reviewing, and I consistently chose not to review those places because I didn't want to help sink the businesses. I was happy to write positive reviews to send customers and dollars to restaurants I liked, But there was no way I was putting some family's livelihood at stake for the sake of being able to write a slammy blog post about how shitty their food was. So I kept my mouth shut about the places I hated, assuming that if they were always that bad, they'd eventually fold without me anyway (which, I observe, has indeed happened for several of the ickier places I kept silent about in the last year or so).

Therefore, <a href-"";>all the food I reviewed got more or less positive reviews</a>- not because I loved everything I ate, but because I didn't write about anything I hated.

(BTW, I should add that this was not suggested to me by any BlogTO editorial staff at all- in fact I was encouraged to write stuff with an opinion. It was 100% my own decision to only select the positive opinions for expansion on the bloog.)
jimbob replying to a comment from stampi / April 15, 2009 at 03:33 am
Well if they're going to die anyways, why not help put them out of their misery?

Or better yet why not make a constructively critical review like this one, so that they owners/chefs/managers could have a chance to improve and perhaps not crumble, putting some family's livelihood at stake?

On another note, I wish this review would have given prices for what was ordered. That picture doesn't make it look very big, and I'm used to massive cutlets for minuscule prices here in 韩國.
Michelle / April 15, 2009 at 12:41 pm
I can see the logic in not writing about bad restaurants. I check out the reviews here because we're always looking for recommendations for new places to try. It's good to see different viewpoints on reviews, which is why I find the comments on reviews really helpful. I appreciate people taking the time to write if they've had a different experience at a restaurant, it helps us make decisions.
korean guy / April 15, 2009 at 12:43 pm

pork cutlets : koreans = shepherds pie : canadians

There's a limit to how "good" cutlets can be, just as there's a limit to how "good" shepherds pie can really be. They're usually served at "boon-shik" (or the Korean style fast food places that dot the Bloor strip), and are meant to be cheap and fast... taste usually isn't a factor. If you've had one "돈까스", you've had'em all.
korean guy / April 15, 2009 at 12:44 pm
btw - not sure if you've ventured outside the confines of the Bloor/Christie strip, but the food is generally much better uptown.
jack / April 17, 2009 at 01:46 pm
you should try the pork cutlet with curry sauce in Galleria korean grocery store in thornhill..they use apples in the curry sauce.. so it tastes a lot better..
Andrew / September 11, 2009 at 03:16 pm
This place blows. My friends and I from NYC were jsut visiting and wanted to go somewhere to eat quick so we chose this place. Friendly staff but the wait was forever after we ordered. We were after 3 other parties who didnt get their food 30 min after we ordered. I thought it was so good it was worth the wait regardless my party and I couldnt wait 1 hour for a cutlet. So we walked out we were trying to be nice and tell the waitress to cancel but she ignored us on purpose! So unless you like waiting forever for food avoid this place at all cost.
Steven / February 16, 2013 at 10:53 pm
Stampi: I respect and admire your positivism. But, writing a bad review is not necessarily going to bust a restaurant. It can be just the feedback they need in order to steer their work towards the right direction. In addition, the fact that I didn't like their food does not mean everybody else won't. They may order a different dish. They may just have a different personal taste. They may well never read your review. And a review does not have to be "good" or "bad". It should be just a review reflecting your experience, not an exercise in decision-making.

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