Otaku Katsu brings Japanese food in the form of katsu bento boxes and sandos to the Lower East Side next week.
It’ll be a fast-casual restaurant serving katsu bento sets like breaded fried pork, chicken, or fish served with sushi rice, pickles, and cabbage; Japanese-style sandwiches, like one stuffed with either of those proteins plus cabbage and pickles; different styles of onigiri (rice balls); and small plates like chilled tofu.
Playful dishes like steak-cut fries inspired by Japanese pancakes known as okonomiyaki come topped with okonomi sauce, pickled ginger, and a runny egg. For dessert, seasonal soft serves come into play.
The new restaurant at 137 Rivington St., between Suffolk and Norfolk streets, comes from husband and wife team Dimitri Voutsinas and Christine Argao-Voutsinas. Voutsinas was previously chef de cuisine at Pizza Loves Emily in the West Village, and also spent time in kitchens at Bar Boulud, Red Rooster, and Motorino. Argao-Voutsinas managed the front of house at high-end New York restaurants like Daniel, Aquavit, and Felidia.
The duo met while working at Harlem hotspot Red Rooster and developed a love for Japanese food following numerous trips to the country. At their new restaurant, a tiny 350-square-foot space, they want to attract diners with their idea of Japanese comfort foods — especially the Japanese katsu.
The increasingly popular Japanese sandwich has popped up in numerous restaurants across the city, with wagyu beef versions going for crazy amounts of money, in part due to its virality on Instagram. Now Otaku Katsu is buying into that market, though at a more approachable price point: pork, chicken, or fish cutlet sandos go for $12 here.
It’s slated to open next week, and hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, though it’ll be closed on Mondays. Stay tuned.