In Japanese cuisine katsu is shorthand for several versions of chicken, beef and pork cutlets that are breaded and deep-fried.
The dish has made Miso Fusion Café in Annandale, Virginia, a destination for katsu lovers and led to its expansion into Rockville, Miso’s owner AJ Lee said Wednesday.
“A lot of people were coming from Montgomery County to Annandale saying we should open a restaurant here,” Lee said. “I feel like it’s a good time and location to introduce these types of dishes.”
Lee was in his new Rockville Town Square restaurant Wednesday evening, putting the finishing touches on the space after an 11-month build-out. The restaurant at 33 Maryland Ave., just a few doors away from the square, plans to open Monday with a soft opening this weekend.
Lee said construction delays and waiting for unique wood features, including a hand-carved long table from West Virginia that took an extended amount of time to produce, kept the restaurant from opening sooner.
The interior was being completed at Miso Fusion Cafe Wednesday evening
The restaurant offers a moderately priced menu that combines elements of Korean and Japanese cuisine. In addition to katsu, it will offer rice bowls, Korean BBQ, ramen bowls and grilled skewers of meat and vegetables.
Traditional katsu includes pork and chicken cutlets and the restaurant also offers shrimp and flounder varieties. Unique to the Rockville location, Lee said, is a new katsu roll menu, which combines cutlets with other ingredients such as mozzarella cheese. For example, the pork Hawaiian variety comes with mozzarella cheese, ham and pineapple wrapped in a pork tenderloin cutlet.
At lunch, the restaurant will serve a variety of rice and ramen bowls ranging in price from $9 to $12.
The restaurant’s interior seats about 65, with space for 45 at tables and 20 at an expansive L-shaped bar in the corner. The booths are painted black and accented with ropes and leather seats. The hand-carved long table is in the center of the space and stretches the length of the restaurant.
Miso will join a wave of new restaurants scheduled to open at or around the square later this year. Others include the southern pizza chain Mellow Mushroom, the Russian restaurant Samovar, the Irish restaurant Finnegan’s Wake and World of Beer, which offers an expansive beer list.
Editor’s note – this article was updated Thursday afternoon after the owner informed Bethesda Beat he would have to push the opening back to Monday, instead of this weekend as was originally planned when the article was published.