Japanese katsu sando @ Koi Koi Sake Bar

Not gonna lie, I was pretty bummed out when I found out that Graffiti’s, home of the black metal brunch, in Kensington Market shut down. But now I hear that spot is home to this funky Japanese joint called Koi Koi that’s serving up a convenience store classic from the Land of the Rising Sun. I’ve been seeing katsu sammies all over my Instagram feed, but never had the chance to scarf down this sando until now, bro!!!

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OK, now let’s break it down. You’ve got a pretty thick pork chop, breaded ‘n fried, between two pieces of toasted white bread, with some great big globs of spicy mustard and one sad little leaf of romaine. And then, on the side you’ve got these burdock fries. Dude, what the fuck are burdock fries???

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Turns out that burdock is a root vegetable that’s pretty popular in Asia…but I can’t say I’ve ever had it before, and I’m not sure I would have it again. It sorta tastes like a bitter, chewy turnip–even when french-fried, I would NOT eat it off a flip-flop! In fact, I think I’m gonna need an ice cold brewski to wash this taste down…

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Good thing this place has got a few brews from Godspeed, a local craft brewery that gives all its beers Japanese names…even when they’re not even close to Japanese. Like Irori, a peated scotch lager that’s blended with scotch whiskey, and tastes an awful lot like scotch whiskey. I didn’t even realize this beer was 8% until I started singing air karaoke to Kirsten Dunst’s version of “Turning Japanese…”

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