Monday, June 5, 2017

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin

I have had delicious Japanese food here in the US, dishes that are as tasty and authentic as when I lived in Japan, but just as often, I find Japanese food here is a sad Americanized version. Consequently, we do not often dine at Japanese restaurants. When I was researching restaurants in Hawaii, I found a lot of Japanese restaurants with terrific reviews, and yet, I was skeptical. I shouldn't have been. We ate at several Japanese restaurants. I was pleased with "real" Japanese food and SP was pleased with all sorts of sushi and sashimi and other Japanese culinary delights.

The night after that disastrous meal at Chart House Waikiki, we decided to try Tonkatsu Ginza Bairinmostly because I love tonkatsu. It helped that SP loves Japanese food and that we could walk to the location on Beach Walk. Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin is a well-known Japanese eatery that started in the upscale Ginza region of Tokyo in 1927 and has since expanded to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Korea, and this location Hawaii. Their specialty is tonkatsu and they have several tonkatsu set options plus other options like tenpura and karaage and donburi.
SP started with Dassai Nigori sake, overflowing into the wood box.

Both our meals were set meals, so they included miso soup, pickled veggie, shredded cabbage with dressing, and rice. Here's what we ate:
Miso Soup. Not my favorite, but that's OK because SP happily slurps his and mine.
My Tenderloin Katsu Set, 4.2 ounces of pork tenderloin. On the right is the crab cream croquette that I added to my meal. The croquette was delicious and so was the pork, just like I remember from Japan. I even ate my shredded cabbage. There is something about Japanese tonkatsu, croquettes, and tenpura. They are fried, yet they never seem soggy or greasy, they're so crispy, and always such a lovely, even, golden color. My tonkatsu sauce was delicious, too, not some horrid Americanized idea of tonkatsu sauce.
SP ordered a Seafood Mix Katsu Set. There were 3 shrimp tenpura and a crab croquette leaning against a mound of cabbage.
SP's "tartar sauce."
The Ahi part of his seafood mix.
Pickled veggie with sesame seed. There was rice, too, but I didn't take a photo of the rice.

We also enjoyed iced teas, which were happily "normal" iced teas and not Japanese iced tea. I was never a fan of the iced mugi-cha (barley tea) I drank in Japan.

We both were very happy with our meals. The food was delicious.  Our server was wonderful, too. Also, I liked that when we entered, I felt like I was transported back to Japan, from the called out greeting "irasshaimase!" to the decor to servers and chefs conversing in Japanese, just everything. It made me nostalgic, and it made me want to travel there with SP and show him around the city where I lived.

We definitely suggest Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin if you are in Waikiki.

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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