Oyster Katsu at Wasabi Restaurant in Ottawa
Back in the day, the now defunct Wasabi Restaurant in Ottawa’s Byward Market served some excellent meals, and created a number of unique and wonderful dishes. Sometimes, though, their flights of creativity came crashing to the ground with some tragic failures. Their attempt to do a ‘Tonkatsu’ with Oysters was one of these.
The basic idea of the ‘Oyster Katsu’ was Oysters deep-fried in a Panko coating and served with a sweetish dip based on a Japanese style Worcestershire Sauce. This they did at Wasabi and the presentation was even somewhat the same except that, instead of breaded Pork on a bed of shredded cabbage, this was breaded oysters on a be of shredded lettuce. It looked fairly pretty, and the concept was clever, but, unfortunately, the execution didn’t work.
First, the deep-fry oil used here was clearly old and past its best, thus yielding a greasy result, and the ratio of breading to content was too high. I could taste oyster in a few places here and there but, otherwise, I could have been eating any (very mild) whitefish, or plain old clam. Also, if that were not bad enough, the whole was overcooked and very carelessly allowed to lump together so that the three oysters formed one. The oysters should have been carefully fried separately, and with more attention paid to the time spent frying.
Finally, the ‘Tonkatsu’ style sauce was out of place. It is okay with Pork cutlet (although even there it is not my favored choice), but it was far too strong an accompaniment for something as delicate as Oysters. Perhaps, though, it was not so serious a tragedy to have the flavor of the Oyster Katsu at Wasabi overwhelmed.