a sybarite in paradise
reviewing the food & entertainment pleasures of Honolulu
I live near one end of Kapiolani Boulevard and Kaffé Imperial is near the other end. It made this month’s Honolulu Magazine’s Best of Honolulu for it’s katsu. I love this deep fried delicacy and had to try this place. It’s on the first floor of an office building and is a sit-down restaurant of about 30 seats at tables. It’s simply appointed in a modern style. The menu is short, katsu and donburi are the only choices. For katsu, it ain’t cheap-$9.45 for chicken katsu, but it comes with accompaniments. I ordered the chicken katsu. First to arrive was the “burn the roof of your mouth, twice, hot” miso soup. It was good. A few minutes later the katsu arrived along with a heaping mound of shredded cabbage, two kinds of Japanese pickles, a scoop of mac salad and a bowl of rice. On the table already was a jug with dipper of katsu sauce. I first tasted the katsu bare. It was delicious. Moist and tender with the lightest crunchy coating on the outside. It was so moist I suspect they brine the chicken thighs. No globs of fat or grizzle in this katsu, just plump juicy meat. I had some seasoning in the coating too. Now for the katsu sauce. It was dark brown, like a cajun roux and syrupy. It too was very tasty. Together with the chicken I could understand why this place got it’s reputation. There were two piles of chicken and I ate them both. I’m not a huge fan of potato salad and this one did nothing to convert me to one. The rice was cooked just right. The picked things were a nice touch. This katsu was worth the $9.90 bill. I’ll be back, there’s a combination katsu and a hirekatsu (thick cut pork) on the menu. Oh and don’t be confused: the outside sign says Café and the menu says Kaffé.
Kaffé Imperial, 725 Kapiolani Blvd, Imperial Plaza, 593-2626, Monday - Saturday, Lunch 11:30 - 2:30, Dinner 5:oo - 10:00. Validated parking: enter on Kawaiahao St.
Friday, March 9, 2007
Chicken Katsu, Kaffé Imperial