[Mountain View] Guru Katsu- where's the salt?

Today was a bad food day. Originally I was going to grab a bite at the new udon place Taro San at Stanford Mall. Well, its closed for lunch. Then I was going to go to Yayoi on University, but mistakenly turned right onto ECR from Welch. Then I stopped by the reopened Cooking Papa and the wait looked long. Finally I stopped by Guru Katsu, in a tiny ‘blink and you will miss’ mall near El Monte on ECR in Mountain View. Perhaps its only fitting that after such an ordeal, the meal would turned out to be terrible as well.

I ordered a pork katsu curry, and I got this:

I am no Japanese curry connoisseur, but I did know that I didn’t order a soup. When the server brought the plate over, the watery curry looked like its ready to spill out of the edge of the plate each step he took towards my table. The soup arrived, barely. The curry tasted like a frugal student taking a pack of store-bought curry, and added two cups of water to make it last for three meals instead of just one. And the curry, even if its concentrated, didn’t taste particularly fragrant, and oddly tart for a curry. It more closely resembled the karuvepilai soup I had at Aachi AappaKadai than a Japanese curry.

But the soup was actually the not the biggest problem. The katsu tasted like its prepared by the same student, who came from an era when salt was highly priced and he just couldn’t afford because the medieval monks levied too heavy of a tax. The pork itself was completely unsalted, as was the breading. Not a single speck to be found anywhere around the katsu, which was unfortunate because if there was just some salt, the breading would actually be pretty nicely done.

What do fortunate individuals who don’t have hypertension or Ménière’s disease do then in the absence of salt since the katsu came with plain rice? Scoop more of the watery curry over them, or, have a sip of the complementary miso soup?

Alas, the miso soup looked like its also prepared by the same student who had enough money to buy either textbook or food, and so he stretched his money by adding lots of water to the soup.

Guru Katsu should have done better. There were flashes of promise. The space was cute, the receipt was cute.

This is my first visit, and apparently the curry used to look like this (Yelp pic), so I really don’t know what happened to them over the years.


Some of you were talking about lunch earlier- I could have driven all the way to join you and done much better, in a similar amount of time spent to finally eat here.


Sorry for your meal, but your review is funny, reminds me a bit of Jay Rayner.

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Aye and on a Friday. I eat healthy lunches all week and get whatever I want on Friday so it kills me when something like this happens.

Yeah. I usually bring lunch to work during the week. Today there weren’t many people at work so I went out, hoping to find something good to eat close by. But alas, that didn’t happen.

I really want to like Guru Katsu because I love japanese curry, but don’t get the thin watery curry without any bite. The history of the dish is interesting - something about beri beri and WWII as I remember - but in Japan you get it from diner-looking places where you order at an all-japanese vending machine and hand your chit to the person at the counter. The curry is rich and satisfying.

I post this partially because I had japanese curry at a food truck called oishii in Santa Clara today, and I was also like… why so thin. Was supposed to be Beef Curry ( they were out of katsu ) and there was no beef at all. Disappointing.