Sherman's Food Adventures: Saku


Last time I checked, there are over 600 Japanese restaurants in the Lower Mainland.  Of those, there are many that exclusively serve ramen and some that are classified as izakayas.  We have only a few that are authentically-Japanese owned and operated while even more rare are the ones that serve up Yoshoku cuisine.  So in general, most of the Japanese restaurants we have in town serve the usual greatest hits that include sushi, sashimi, teriyaki and donburi.  So it is truly surprising that we finally get Saku out on Robson Street that only does Tonkatsu.  Yep, we have Saboten in Richmond, but really, Saku is the only true restaurant that dedicates itself to Tonkatsu.

I ventured out there with the kids to see what the fuss was all about.  We just missed the lineup by arriving at store opening for lunch.  My son didn't stray far from the standard ordering the Hire Katsu Set featuring 2 deep fried pork fillets with a bowl of rice, cabbage, pickles, salt, sesame seeds and sauce.  This was a substantial amount of meat for one person considering the fact that all the sides were unlimited too.  The cutlet was perfectly fried being golden brown with an airy and crispy exterior.  Inside, it was light, tender and juicy.  My daughter went for the Cheese Katsu Set with the same accompaniments.   Now if you look at the picture, you will noticed that it was more about the cheese than the thin layer of pork surrounding it.  Hence it ate heavy, yet was super cheesy and tasty.  She loved grinding up the sesame seeds for full nutty flavour to go with the salt and tonkatsu sauce.

For myself, I had the Curry Hire Set and although the amount of curry looked alarming, it was the right amount.  This way, I could dunk the perfectly fried juicy cutlet into the thick flavourful curry for full effect.  It was a good balance of savoury and sweet with an impactful amount of rich curry.  There wasn't too much rice and that suited me fine as I could've gotten more anyways.  I loved how I could adjust the dressing on the side of cabbage as it was available on the table.  Just because I was curious, I added 2 Jumbo Prawns and 2 Scallops as well.  Also fried perfectly, these were crispy while still moist on the inside.  The scallops were large, buttery and soft while the prawns were meaty with a firm snap.  So all this food was indeed filling and tasty, but it wasn't cheap either.  With that in mind, I still think it wasn't completely overpriced given the quality and execution.  Also, it is located right on Robson Street.  Worth a try.

The Good:
- Perfectly fried tonkatsu
- Unlimited sides and rice
- Attentive service

The Bad:
- Ain't cheap
- Limited seating


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