Daniel Son’s Japanese convenience store-inspired sandwich shop Katsu Sando will open on Friday, July 24 after an 18 month build out in Chinatown. The highly anticipated restaurant is sushi chef Son’s first standalone endeavor after debuting Katsu Sando as a popular spot at Smorgasburg on Sundays.
Son says Katsu Sando will bake its own milk bread, an essential part of the fried pork cutlet sandwich popular as a budget food in Japanese convenience stores, as well as creative takes on onigiri. In addition to the chicken culet, pork cutlet, and egg salad sandwiches, Son will bring back his Japanese A5 beef katsu sando which last cost $70 a sandwich (that price might be different now that the place is permanent). Other Yoshoku, or Japanese-style Western food, dishes available will be curry katsu plates, honey walnut shrimp sando, and curry chizu (cheese) fries at reasonable prices, with nothing over $15 (well, except for that A5 sandwich).
“I think of comfort and accessibility,” says Son, who wants to only do takeout in the first few weeks before finding a delivery partner that will expand the reach of the place. “We’re lucky to be opening Katsu Sando, and I’m being sensitive to the times by figuring out a cost-efficient menu.”
A lot of Son’s inspiration for Katsu Sando came when he was working as a cook in Tokyo at Michelin star restaurants and found comfort in the all-day accessibility and budget pricing of Japanese convenience store specialties (a sando in Japan might cost $3-4). Since then, dishes like katsu sando and egg salad sandwiches became popular across the LA at places like Konbi, Kagura, and Ototo. Son was recently the chef at his family-owned Kura Sushi in West Hollywood, a celebrated restaurant that closed due the pending redevelopment of the property (Kura should not be confused with a conveyor belt sushi chain of the same name). At the moment the plans for Son’s next sushi restaurant are still in the works, with no definite plans at the moment.
Katsu Sando will initially operate from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with expanded evening hours in the coming weeks, which means it won’t be nearly as accessible as they would be in a Lawson or 7-11 in Japan, most of which are open 24/7.