Izakaya Katsu Japanese Restaurant - "The Green Door" Re-visited
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
It's been nearly two years since I reviewed this Tumon hideaway, obscurely located atop the Central Building in Tumon, just across San Vitores from the Grand Hotel and parallel to the road going to the Fujita Hotel. It's best to drive into the building's parking lot which takes you to the third floor where you will see the legendary "Green Door" (literally a green door) that's part of the decorated exterior.
Katsu has become a favorite among both locals and visitors. In fact, it was voted among the Best Japanese restaurants by visitors from Japan in the April 2002 edition of WAVE MAGAZINE. It was described as "cozy", "reasonably priced", and that the food was "high quality" since each and every dish is prepared fresh by the chef.
Family-owned and operated by Takeshi (the chef) and Yokho Soma, this inn-styled eatery has maintained its reputation for consistently serving excellent food, with its signature "Tofu Steak" and panko-battered shrimp and other fried specialties. Ever since my first review, Katsu has enjoyed an increase in new customer visits, most of whom have become repeat customers.
Our recent lunch visit to Katsu was my companion's first time. Though not a big fan of tofu, I convinced her to try the Tofu Steak. We also ordered a Hamburg Curry Steak ($12.00) and the Fried Shrimp ($12.00). We ordered the side order portion for the Tofu Steak, for $7.00. The full Tofu Steak lunch set is $10.00 and comes with rice and miso soup. The firm tofu slab is grilled in light flour that just crisps the exterior. A flavorful sauce is drizzled over the top, which is sprinkled with grated ginger, sake, pepper, and bonito flakes. It is a healthy, delicious alternative to meat, and a favorite for vegetarians.
Yokho wanted us to sample a new dinner menu addition and brought out a Chicken Salad. This had crisp won ton wrappers mixed in with the greens and chunks of chicken, topped with a special Japanese Vinaigrette dressing. It is priced at $8.00, and joins two other new dinner salads, a Chilled Tomato ($8.00) and a Tuna & Garlic Salad ($9.00). The latter has lightly grilled sashimi and sounds appealing. Yokho said it was really popular with diners.
The Hamburg Steak had a ground beef mixture fried in a light panko batter that gave it a crisp, firm exterior. It was a thick oval patty that is sliced on top a bed of rice, with spicy curry sauce in a separate serving dish. I generously ladled curry sauce on top of the meat and rice and took my first bite. It was really delightful, with the hamburg steak reminding me of a really good meatloaf. The curry only enhanced it. Other curry lunch specials include a Pork Cutlet and a Chicken Cutlet, for $12.00 each.
The Fried Shrimp dish remains one of my personal favorites. They really have this one down to an exact science - they are panko-battered and masterfully fried, with no visible grease or oils. Frying is one of Takeshi's specialties. If you really like oysters, his fried oysters are to die for! The Fried Shrimp are large, meaty, and plentiful, and the fresh-made tartar salad is scrumptious.
Other lunch specialties at Katsu include grilled fish and a very popular Unagi (eel) for $15.00. Rarely served in its entirety, Katsu serves a whole eel that is grilled to perfection. Yokho made me promise to try it on my next visit. (I did get an unsolicited recommendation from some food connoisseurs about this delicacy). I really like unagi so I'll definitely keep it in my sights.
Katsu's lunch selection is modest compared to their dinner menu. Dinner has become very busy so reservations are recommended as the seating capacity is small. Lunch hours are from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm Monday - Friday. Dinner hours are 6 pm - 9:30 pm. Monday - Saturday. Call 646-0247 to book your table for one of Guam's favorite Japanese eating destinations - Izakaya Katsu, "The Green Door"!