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Pork sando at Evil Katsu in Alphabet City. (Kaitlyn Rosati for ˵Ӱ)
Pork sando at Evil Katsu in Alphabet City. (Kaitlyn Rosati for ˵Ӱ)
Kaitlyn Rosati

If you’ve ever been to Japan or spoken with someone who has traveled there, you’re probably familiar with . One of the best spots to grab a sando in Japan is at a 7-Eleven, but here in New York, one of the best spots to get them is at , a hole-in-the-wall in Alphabet City.

Though “sando” simply means “sandwich,” something about a Japanese sando hits different from your typical bodega order. They’re made on Japanese milk bread, or , a light and fluffy bread with a subtle sweetness.

Tucked away on Ninth St. close to the corner of Avenue A, Evil Katsu is pretty easy to miss. When I visited, I counted eight barstools for seating, but I imagine if they were all full it would feel like a packed house. There are also a few seats right at the window of Evil Katsu.

Evil Katsu in Alphabet City. (Kaitlyn Rosati for ˵Ӱ)
Evil Katsu in Alphabet City. (Kaitlyn Rosati for ˵Ӱ)

The small space is part of the charm, and visiting will make you feel like you’ve discovered a hidden gem in the truest sense of the phrase. The sandwiches here will take you on a quick trip to Japan, and Evil Katsu is one of the only Japanese restaurants in New York City that serves sandos like this.

The biggest seller is the sando. It featured a panko-breaded fried chicken cutlet stuffed between two massive yet fluffy pieces of Japanese milk bread. The crispy Japanese-style fried chicken is topped with a -based slaw consisting of colorful crunchy vegetables, like carrots, cabbage, and even a thinly sliced disk of radish. If you really want to enhance your experience, get a side of Japanese curry for dunking.

If chicken isn’t your thing, they also offer a pork and portobello variety. I opted for the pork cutlet (known in Japan as tonkatsu), because it’s what I’m accustomed to when eating Japanese sandos, but I’m already pining for a return for the chicken version. The sandwich was crunchy yet creamy from the slaw, crispy yet juicy from the massive piece of fried pork. The Japanese milk bread was so fluffy that it could have substituted as my pillow, which would be useful for the food coma that sando gave me.

Tamago salad at Evil Katsu in Alphabet City. (Kaitlyn Rosati for ˵Ӱ)
Tamago salad at Evil Katsu in Alphabet City. (Kaitlyn Rosati for ˵Ӱ)

For a meal that’s on the lighter side, go for the , which is made with egg salad. At Evil Katsu, the boiled eggs are mixed with tarragon, Kewpie mayo, soy, chives and various other ingredients. At only $9 a pop, compared with the $18 price for the pork, chicken and mushroom katsu versions, the tamago sando is definitely a better budget deal that will still leave you full and satisfied.

Alternatively, if you aren’t in the mood for sandwiches, Evil Katsu offers a wide variety of other dishes. Go for a bento box, served with either fried pork, chicken or portobello katsu, served with garlic rice and a few sides of your choice. Their chicken wings are offered in either sweet chili or spicy . For something especially ideal for summer, go for the , topped with curry, cheese and Japanese mustard and scallions.

  • Address: 435 E Ninth St, New York, N.Y. 10009
    Phone: (646) 370-3435
    Hours: Monday-Sunday 12 p.m.-9 p.m.
    Prices: Bowls $17-$19; Sandos $8-$18; Bentos $25; Wings $11-$21; Katsu Bites $12; Salads $8-$10; Sides $4-$10
    Takeout and delivery available. No reservations.

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