Tonkatsu is no stranger to Hawai‘i menus. Here, tonkatsu—a breaded pork cutlet—and its cousin, chicken katsu, are staples at plate lunch eateries and even casual dining, sit-down restaurants.
However, at Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin, you’ll get the “real deal,” so to speak. Here, the crispy-on-the-outside cutlet is prepared almost like an art form. The highest quality pork—a must-try is the kurobuta tonkatsu—is so tender, you can cut it with a fork (although the go-to utensil here is a pair of chopsticks, so ask for a fork if you need one). These juicy pieces of pork are breaded with panko and fried so that it forms a delicate skin around the meat. Unlike other venues where quantity is oft favored over quality, the sweet-smoky complex tonkatsu sauce is placed tableside, so you can add as much (or little) as you want.
Most entrees here come as a “set” comprised of a salad, Japanese pickles, rice and miso soup.
If you’re not a rice eater, a good alternative is the tonkatsu sandwich. Here, the tonkatsu is encased in super-soft white bread (no crust, kids!) and slathered with the delish tonkatsu sauce. Not a pork fan? There’s also shrimp, chicken and some of the best calamari we’ve tasted in a while.
Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin
255 Beachwalk St. [C:6 Waikiki Map]