Caroline Jones

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The Sandwich: Katsu Sandwich

Where: Izakaya Seki, 1117 V St. NW

Cost: $9.50

Stuffings: Breaded and fried pork cutlet, shaved cabbage, tonkatsu sauce

Bread: Japanese pain de mie, similar to white sandwich bread

Thickness: 2 inches

Pros: The layered construction, with rich katsu-style pork, crunchy cabbage, and salty sauce, gives you the perfect combination of texture and flavor in every bite. In a city full of elaborate fried meat sandwiches piled high with toppings and oozing liquids, this simplified offering elevates the protein and uses the sauce sparingly so that it accents the pork flavor instead of obliterating it.

Cons: Both the bread and the pork feel slightly dry. This means that the bread is sturdy enough to contain all the ingredients without falling apart like traditional white bread, but it also comes off a little like cardboard. The pork needs less time in the fryer to avoid the leathery mouth-feel that comes from dry meat.

Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 1. Neatly cut into three thin slices (think tea sandwiches) and packed in a box, this sandwich makes for the perfect portable lunch. Because the toppings are so minimal, nothing has the chance to fall out from between the slices of bread, leaving your hands and mouth free from mess.

Overall score (1 to 5): 4. If you want something fried that’s more refined than the buffalo chicken at your watering hole of choice, this is the sandwich for you. With a pork cutlet that’s slightly more moist, it’s a superb midday meal.