Katsuya is a Japanese fusion restaurant that specializes in modern takes on tonkatsu . It's a bit hard to find, due to its semi-obscure location in a tiny plaza just north of Finch station, but definitely worth the effort.
While the food is Japanese-inspired, the personnel here is unmistakably Korean. You can even hear K-pop songs playing as you sit within the restaurant's four modern minimalistic walls.
The Curry Karaage Thigh ($5.50) is your standard fried chicken appetizer taken up a notch. The fact that it uses dark meat means that each piece is extremely tender. It was missing a dipping sauce, though that was quickly rectified when I requested one and was promptly presented with a wasabi mayonnaise dip.
The Cheese Crabmeat Croquette ($5.50) is just insanely delicious. Packed full of warm mozzarella and crabmeat, along with potatoes and onions with a touch of honey for that slight twang of sweetness, it's immensely satisfying and undoubtedly the go-to appetizer here.
The must-order dishes here are the tonkatsus. The Katsuya Original, with pork loin meat and cheese ($14.75), is a good way to start the journey. The thick light-brown sauce contains a mixture of ten vegetables, five seasonal fruits, and six herbs. It's a rich, savoury sauce punctuated with an undercurrent of fruity sweetness. The meat itself is tender and fried perfectly.
Those who want to kick it up a notch should order the White Snow Chili Katsu. The base sauce is similar to the other one but it has a lot more zing to it. Mixed with lots of cheese and pork tenderloin ($15.90), it's akin to getting the original version on steroids.
The Carbonara Katsu comes with a creamy, bacon-and-seafood infused cream sauce on a chicken cutlet ($16.50). It's a rich dish reminiscent of a much more opulent version of a Chicken Kiev.
My personal favourite is the Terri Mayo Katsu which I get with the double cheese pork tenderloin ($15.75). Stuffed with both mozzarella and cream cheese, the meat is ridiculously indulgent and buttery. Its top coating is layered with a sweet teriyaki sauce and bonito flakes, creating a wonderful takoyaki -like flavour that surprisingly works.
If you need a break from all the fried goodness, go for the Katsuya Udon ($10.99). Simple but satisfyingly chewy udon noodles come in a nice 48-hour marinated bone broth, served alongside some breaded shrimp.