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View Full Version : Who has the best and worst chicken katsu?



adrian
October 18th, 2005, 10:35 AM
For you chicken katsu fans, where do you go for the best katsu chicken, and where do you avoid going to?

For me, L&L makes the best chicken katsu, while Diners at Waimalu Shopping Center makes the worst (its like breaded chicken, just add tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo)

Pomai
October 18th, 2005, 02:07 PM
We used to frequent Tonkotsu stands in Tokyo. Tonkotsu is Pork Cutlet, a.k.a, Pork Katsu. Most also offer Chicken as an option, though pork is usually the feature item.

This is one of those "secret's in the sauce" delicacies there, just like Ramen shops do with their broths. Each owner keeps their Tonkotsu sauce recipes under tight guard.

Another critical aspect of Tonkotsu shops is the lightness of the panko. It has to have a light, non-burnt, non-oily texture. The meat also has to be tenderized by flattening it with a mallet. Lastly, the Tonkatsu is always sliced in bite size strips and placed over a bed of thinly sliced cabbage. Very important!

Japanese Tonkotsu shops also make it a must to serve HOT Miso Soup with your meal, as this helps breaks down the oil from the food.

I find it amazing how so many places in Hawaii serve pork or chicken katsu with total disregard to the sauce it comes with. Some even go as low as giving you ketchup mixed with Worcestershire sauce or shoyu. Auwe! :eek: I avoid ordering Chicken Katsu at most places around here for this very reason.

The best (and most expensive) Tonkotsu I've had here was at Kyoya in Waikiki.

There was a place called TONKOTSU (I think) that opened in McCully Shopping Center years back. Always wanted to go, but never did. They eventually closed. :(

Go to Daiei, Shirokiya or Marukai in the sauces and condiments aisle and look for a brand called BULL DOG Fruit and Vegetable Sauce. It's a clear bottle with an orange label. Last I checked, $8.00 willl get you a large bottle. That's the closest I've tasted yet to the Tonkotsu shops in Japan. Excellent, excellent, excellent. Ichiban. No Ka Oi. Da Bomb.

Trust me, after you try the BULL DOG Sauce with your Chicken Katsu or Tonkatsu, you'll be HOOKED. Make your own little "care packets" next time you hit a plate lunch joint. ;)

glossyp
October 18th, 2005, 02:16 PM
Mr. Ojisan on Kapahulu has excellent chicken katsu served with the proper sauce (I agree with Pomai on that whole sauce issue). Worst, hard to say but I'll second the Diner's at Waimalu - that was some scary food - but then most everything there is.

Kilinahe
October 18th, 2005, 03:29 PM
The late, great Wisteria did nearly everything perfectly except for their katsu. Their katsu was a great big pile of fried panko and a little tiny bit of chicken. Not that there's anything wrong with fried panko, it's just not what I'm looking for.

I love L&L's. I love it plain, but I love it even more with curry on top.

cezanne
October 18th, 2005, 06:37 PM
L&L hands down... also because they give plenny. :)

helen
October 18th, 2005, 07:46 PM
I normally get BBQ Chicken from L&L Drive Inn, as well as Mahalo BBQ, but the times that I got Chicken Katsu from there is pretty decent.

My college friends who visit from the mainland swear by Graces every time they visit.

tvguy
October 21st, 2005, 11:55 AM
I'd say L&L. My only qualm is that it can vary from location to location, with the different franchisees. The DO give a lot though. Mini-plates are always enough for me.

Glen Miyashiro
October 21st, 2005, 11:59 AM
I once knew this black guy from Georgia who was in Honolulu and raved about the chicken katsu at Grace's. And it struck me: here is a business opportunity waiting to happen. Somebody should open up a chain of chicken katsu joints in the American South. They love fried chicken over there, so this could be really big. I can just see it: Katsu Hut! :D

cezanne
October 21st, 2005, 04:03 PM
I'd say L&L. My only qualm is that it can vary from location to location, with the different franchisees. The DO give a lot though. Mini-plates are always enough for me.

There's an L&L in northwest Vegas that I think just opened. My friend who moved there 10 years ago is stoked. I got my chicken katsu and for some reason it tasted better. :confused: I dunno maybe I was just happy there was an L&L there. I hear the L&Ls in CA aren't that great though.

cezanne
October 21st, 2005, 04:11 PM
My college friends who visit from the mainland swear by Graces every time they visit.
Man I dunno ... the Grace's where it is on Beretania now aint the same as the original (just past Isenberg...yeah she used to have the lunchwagon too). Just like they don't give as much as back then (college 80's). Even the chow fun underneath doesn't taste the same.

AuntieNellieKulolo
October 24th, 2005, 09:08 AM
Worst- Loco Drive-Inn at Koko Marina. Maybe I have gone there on 'off' days but their chicken katsu always is tough, overcooked and the sauce is too watery with nomo flavah!

Best-Used to be Grace's. I haven't been there in years. Now I go to L&L 'cuz it's all we get in NYC. You can get katsu at some Japanese places here but you'd get funny looks if you asked for mac salad with it!

Pomai
October 24th, 2005, 09:27 AM
You can get katsu at some Japanese places here but you'd get funny looks if you asked for mac salad with it!

Do your tummy (and health) a favor and order HOT Miso Soup with it. ;)

Pomai
October 24th, 2005, 11:03 AM
And it struck me: here is a business opportunity waiting to happen. Somebody should open up a chain of chicken katsu joints in the American South. They love fried chicken over there, so this could be really big. I can just see it: Katsu Hut! :D

Here's a logo concept for this GREAT idea!...

http://www.96seven44.com/images/katsuhut300.gif

Start the chain in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, then branch out. ;)

Glen Miyashiro
October 24th, 2005, 11:35 AM
Pomai, thanks for the logo! And yeah, come to think of it you could offer chicken katsu, pork katsu, and even beef katsu too. Like folks have said, the key is the sauce... :D

Pomai
October 24th, 2005, 01:33 PM
Glenn,

I fixed the logo better. Added the slogan in it.

http://www.96seven44.com/images/katsuhut300.gif

This idea is beginning to sound better the more I think about it! Anyone wanna' go in as investors?

Perhaps contract the Bull Dog sauce company in Japan as official sauce supplier for the franchise.

Speaking of which, notice how the slogan appears to resemble the sauce squiggled on the Katsu.

:rolleyes:

cezanne
October 24th, 2005, 07:46 PM
Pomai, thanks for the logo! And yeah, come to think of it you could offer chicken katsu, pork katsu, and even beef katsu too. Like folks have said, the key is the sauce... :D

Don't forget chitlin' katsu. :D

Pomai
October 24th, 2005, 08:17 PM
Don't forget chitlin' katsu. :D Why not add Snicker Bar Katsu while we're at it!

Seen that done on the Food Network. Not Katsu style. but battered and deep-fried. No kidding!

Other possibilities:
Twinkie Katsu (with whipped cream sauce)
Ono katsu (the fish)
Beard Papa Katsu (with vanilla custard sauce)
Freedom Fry Katsu (with ketchup sauce)
Bearded Clam Katsu (with "secret" sauce)
Kalua Pig Katsu (with poi sauce)


... the possibilities are endless!
:D

scrivener
October 24th, 2005, 09:17 PM
The tonkatsu place at McCully Shopping Center (it was called something else, but the sign did say "Tonkatsu") was EXCELLENT. I went there once or twice a week, and it convinced that although the sauce is very, very important (the sauce there was so yummy, you'd pour it over the bed of cabbage upon which the katsu lay), if you have excellent meat, the sauce isn't nearly as important. They had a katsu made from a pork roast that was unbelievable.

There's a place in Kakaako, on Kapiolani near Cooke, that has tonkatsu that nearly rivals it. It's a bit more expensive, but man, it's awesome. It's in that building where the state Republican Party's office is.

As for chicken katsu, I have to go with Grace's. No, it's not as good as it used to be, but it's still very good.

With all do respect to GlossyP and the others who cite Diner's, I have to say that there are a few places worse. Some establishments cut the katsu up and THEN throw it in the fryer; you can imagine the results. The chicken is tough, stringy, oily, and just plain disgusting. One place that does this is Sea Dragon (next to New Diner's in Kapalama), which is a generally good Chinese restaurant. Just don't get the katsu. There are a few other places that do this, but I can't remember where they are.

I'll second Mr. Ojisan as a terrific establishment not just for katsu, but for ramen, karaage, and everything else on the menu. You can always tell when your food is prepared with care, and Ojisan rises above most places when it comes to carefully prepared dishes; the ingredients taste fresh and every dish seems to be assembled as if the chef is trying to impress a judge.

That means something to me, and I happily pay a few extra bucks for it.

kimo55
October 24th, 2005, 09:20 PM
hey.
Who can have the best AND the worst at the same time?!

Pomai
October 24th, 2005, 10:45 PM
They had a katsu made from a pork roast that was unbelievable.


That's what I'd call EXTREME KATSU

Scriv', please find out the name of that place in Kaka'ako. Katsu-curious minds wanna' know!


hey.
Who can have the best AND the worst at the same time?!

Any Katsu bento left overnight in the fridge. You always end up microwaving it for late night munchies. Then after you eat, you regret it. :eek:

MadAzza
October 24th, 2005, 11:10 PM
There's a place in Kakaako, on Kapiolani near Cooke, that has tonkatsu that nearly rivals it. It's a bit more expensive, but man, it's awesome. It's in that building where the state Republican Party's office is.

I know that place! I used to go there every now and then when I worked at the news building, before The Big Change.

Anyway ... I can't remember the name of the place. Something generic, probably. If it's the one I'm thinking of, it's a small place, just a few tables. Japanese (I think) employees. And good katsu! I loved it. It's in a small place facing Kapiolani, on the makai side of the street, right? I didn't go there but a couple of times because yes, it was more expensive, and ... well, there's another reason that I won't go into here. More of a service issue. But the food was pretty good.

EastCoastTropics
October 25th, 2005, 01:10 AM
Glen I like the idea! Nice logo Pomai!! :)


When in Hawaii I like the Chicken Katsu at L&L!

The Asian Bay restaurant here in my city has great chicken katsu!

glossyp
October 25th, 2005, 07:54 AM
There's a place in Kakaako, on Kapiolani near Cooke, that has tonkatsu that nearly rivals it. It's a bit more expensive, but man, it's awesome. It's in that building where the state Republican Party's office is.


I believe it is Kaffee Imperial and I have heard good things about their food from Japanese friends who visit Hawaii. They have quite a following amongst Japanese nationals. I haven't tried it yet but probably should put it on the list.

AuntieNellieKulolo
October 26th, 2005, 06:47 AM
Do your tummy (and health) a favor and order HOT Miso Soup with it. ;)

Mmm, sounds ono! Although I do like the contrast in flavors between the cool, creamy mac salad and the salty/spicy katsu and sauce... Kinda like poi and Spam. :)

I've got an idea for the veggies... TEMPEH KATSU!!! There are Chinese restaurants here in NYC that serve veggie versions of popular Chinese dishes that you would swear were 'the real thing', using tempeh, seitan, etc. I used to be veg, eat meat now but still go to these places because the food is good, healthier and not so greasy.

I think I'll try making it when I visit my mom for the holidays and report back with the results...Stay Tuned! :D