When I worked in Chelsea I used to pass this place all the time. And every time I thought, “hmm… Japanese fried chicken, huh? I oughta try that place.” I was right.
The sandwich: Chicken Katsu sandwich from Tebaya, 144 w. 19th St. in Manhattan.
The construction: Two deep fried chicken cutlets on a soft bun with cole slaw, miso sauce and homemade wasabi dressing.
Important background information: Cole slaw is a delicious sandwich topper. Great way to add flavor, moisture and crunch in one fell swoop. One of my go-to orders at delis is honey-maple turkey, bacon, muenster and cole slaw. You don’t need dressing when it’s like that.
What it looks like:
How it tastes: That’s a lot of chicken, fellas. A lot of delicious chicken.
Tebaya used dark meat, which I really appreciate. I’ve never understood why dark meat costs less than white meat, it tastes much better. Sure, it’s fattier, but that just means it stays moist better under heat. I suppose it was that choice that made Tebaya use two cutlets instead of one, since boneless thighs are generally smaller than boneless breasts and one alone might not have filled out the sandwich.
The chicken was amazingly crispy. The breading was thick — I assume it was panko — and it really crunched, especially when I first bit into it. They clearly fried it to order, which makes two chicken cutlets in a row for me. Sandwich Week rules.
The miso sauce — coating the chicken — was very good. Tasted like sweeter, gooier soy sauce basically, which I guess is what miso sauce is. The cole slaw was present, but it didn’t really have much flavor and whatever extra crunch it might have added was unnecessary thanks to the crispyness of the chicken. I didn’t taste any wasabi at all.
Still, the chicken in miso sauce on its own was good enough to carry the sandwich to excellence. But I couldn’t finish it, which says something. There was just a lot of food there.
What it’s worth: More than the $6 I paid, for certain. What a bargain! I could have cut this thing in half and made it two small meals. That’s like Taco Bell levels of reasonable. The subways came pretty quick, too, so I actually invested less time in this sandwich than any but the ones I made at home. And it was definitely worth it.
The rating: 88 out of 100. An excellent and exciting sandwich, if not a particularly dynamic one. And maybe a tiny bit too big for its own good, if that’s even possible. Prince Fielder?