Though it launched quietly during the dine-in shutdown and has been operating with takeout only and limited offerings, EE NAMI Tonkatsu Izakaya recently opened its doors for its official debut, starting seated dining and revealing its entire menu.
The Japanese eatery, which replaces Ramen Yamadaya in Clairemont Mesa, and has ties to a well-known restaurant in Japan. For more than 30 years, owner Jumon Tano’s family has operated Tonkatsu Tsurukame near the city of Osaka; it’s a renowned specialist of tonkatsu, a classic Japanese dish that features a panko bread crumb-coated fried pork cutlet. Typically served with a tangy, dark sauce as well as shredded cabbage, rice, and miso soup, tonkatsu is usually made with either lean pork filet or pork loin.
Tano, who reportedly worked at Yokohama Yakitori Koubou on Convoy Street for several years, trained in tonkatsu at his family’s restaurant and has opened EE NAMI with chef Teru Yanoshita. The pork cutlets are featured in an assortment of dishes, from a trendy katsu sando (sandwich) to an egg and rice dish called katsu-don. Other variations on tonkatsu made with alternatives to pork include fried Hokkaido scallops and fried shrimp.
Billed as an izakaya, a style of Japanese restaurant that serves drinks and small plates, EE NAMI also offer an extensive menu of appetizers ranging from enoki mushrooms wrapped with pork belly to beef tataki and raw octopus with wasabi as well as rice and noodle dishes that include yakisoba and ochazuke, a quick rice porridge.