Basic Japanese cuisine

A new Diamond Bar Japanese restaurant, located in the Hannam Chain plaza on Brea Canyon Road, Japanese restaurant Gingko Katsu,  which opened this summer, doesn’t add much to the area restaurant scene. Its menu is simple, only consisting of four main dishes, and is more focused on serving drinks than a sizable meal; a good alternative if you’re on a budget.

Walking in, I was greeted with the absence of a line and a plexiglass screen with several six-feet markers lining the floors. A television hung off the wall, but wasn’t easily visible from anywhere else except the front of the counter. Like most restaurants, dining in was prohibited but the small store did have an area outside reserved for customers.

 Food only took  11 minutes to arrive, packed into a neat bag. It came out surprisingly fast for the volume of food I ordered.

I ordered a tonkatsu ($11), which is a breaded, deep fried pork cutlet, which came with rice, cabbage and sauce. The dish lacked much meat, despite it being such a large portion, and each bite had a disappointedly considerable amount of fried bits. Its overall flavor wasn’t very enjoyable and the sauce, while flavorful, didn’t make it better; it was just a slight distraction to the lackluster taste. The rice and minced cabbage, that came on the side, made the meal more tolerable, providing a nice contrast to the naturally-greasy pork. 

I also ordered the ten-piece fried gyoza ($7.50) filled with vegetables and pork. Unexpectedly, this was the highlight of my meal, despite it only being a side dish. The outside of the gyozas  was crispy and the inside tasted great. Unlike the tonkatsu, the gyoza’s balance of content to fried exterior was perfect, making it more tasteful. 

 Each bite was a treat, being rewarded with the abundance of juices exploding with flavor. Compared to gyoza I’ve had in the past, it’s easily above average and I would strongly recommend this side dish over others offered on the menu.

For my beverage, I ordered  a Thai Iced Tea ($4.50). The price seemed reasonable in comparison with the amount I received, but it was a little too sweet for me. I do wish I had purchased another drink from their menu, especially since they had various types of coffee and juices like Dalgona Coffee (Whipped Coffee), Chamango, Mojitos, Matcha Lattes and Black Sugar Tea. 

For its price, Gingko Katsu is very reasonable, especially for the amount of food you can get. Compared to Tofu House, located in the H-Mart plaza, the taste doesn’t compare but the cheaper prices make it a good place for a quick, cheap bite.