Our Picks


POSTED: Friday, April 03, 2009


Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin

255 Beach Walk / 926-8082

In little more than a decade, and largely due to the Internet's influence, we've been transformed from a society of generalists to one of special interests. The effect is of walking around with blinders on, possibly missing something important along the way. Superstar chefs have responded with branding across multiple platforms, leveraging their high-end reputations into fast-food and prepared-food enterprises geared toward different clientele.

The latest to reach beyond its established market is Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin, specializing in pork cutlet, which has expanded beyond its 2-year-old Beach Walk site into a small corner of Shirokiya Ala Moana Center's food court.

It's a way to reach consumers feeling the pinch of the economy and a great introduction for casual diners who, after sampling about six ounces of Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin's pork tenderloin for $5 at Shirokiya, might want to explore further or splurge later on a sit-down meal at the Waikiki restaurant.

It's not your usual fast-food tonkatsu, which is mostly bread crumbs with a thin sliver of pork between the layers. At Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin, which started in Tokyo in 1927, pork preparation has been elevated to an art. The pork is dredged in egg and fresh panko, cooked through at a low temperature of about 180 degrees to seal in moisture and maintain its tenderness, then at a little more than 200 degrees to bring the panko to its crispest. It's cooked in cottonseed oil, a nearly greaseless trans-fat-free vegetable oil.

You have the option of pork loin, pork tenderloin or the ultimate Kurobuta (known as Berkshire elsewhere), the equivalent of Wagyu beef in the pork world. Choose from 30 to 40 percent Kurobuta from Canada, or 100 percent Kurobuta pork loin from Iowa ($36 complete meal, $32 a la carte), served as an inch-thick cutlet that allows you to see the pork as well as taste it. Dress it up with the restaurant's signature tonkatsu sauce, a reduction of apples, onion, tomato, vinegar, spices and other ingredients. For this pork, a little goes a long way.

Open 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9:30 p.m. daily. Costs about $50 to $60 for two without drinks. Also, takeout portions available at Shirokiya Ala Moana food court from about $5 to $15.


Fitch brothers to hold concert in Kailua

Hawaiian music awards nominees Doug and Brad Fitch will present an intimate concert Sunday afternoon in Kailua.

The brothers are originally from a small, rural community in Colorado, and Doug Fitch has been a Kailua resident since 2001. (Brother Brad hails from Estes Park, Colo.) Doug's album, “;Paradise on the Ocean,”; is a multiple nominee this year in both the Na Hoku Hanohano and Hawaii Music awards competitions. He is currently paired with master slack-key guitarist Ledward Kaapana in the Folk Art Apprenticeship Program through the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

The Fitches' concert will feature slack-key instrumentals, folk favorites and their original compositions.

Admission is free to the 2 p.m. performance at A Cup of Tea Victorian Tea Room at 407 Uluniu St. Visit or


Lil' Wayne makes debut in isles at Blaisdell Arena

Grammy Award-winning recording artist Lil' Wayne makes his Hawaii debut on Saturday at Blaisdell Arena, finally giving local residents an opportunity to see if he really is the “;greatest rapper alive.”;

The statement seemed like over-the-top braggadocio five years ago, when the man born Dwayne Carter Jr. had singles like “;Go DJ”; and “;Fireman”; on the Billboard charts, and fans still connected him to the Hot Boyz era of the late '90s.

“;I think it hurt him at first, but then he used it as fuel,”; said Elliott Wilson, former longtime editor in chief at XXL Magazine and co-founder of hip-hop Web site “;The thing about Lil' Wayne is that people didn't want to accept his ascension ... (but) he's outworked everybody, and I think he's gotten better as an artist.”;

Seats are going fast. According to a source familiar with the production, about 400 tickets, at $79.75 and $175.25 apiece (plus fees), remain for the 7:30 p.m. concert.


Hot Club of Hulaville in popular MVT series

It'll be “;April in Paris”; with the Hot Club of Hulaville as part of the popular Manoa Valley Theatre studio series Monday and Tuesday nights.

Imagine strolling along the Seine river while spring love is in the air as the band—plus special guests—shows off a new lineup of tunes, arrangements and orchestrations.

Trumpeter DeShannon Higa and clarinetist Rocky Holmes will join the regular Hot Club cast of violinist Duane Padilla, singer Ginai, singer-guitarist Sonny Silva, bassist David Chiorini and guitarist Emmett Mahoney.

Bar and crepe service starts at 5:30, with the concert at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call 988-6131 or visit or


Student performers stage 'Chocolate Factory'

The new after-school performing arts program, the Performing Children's Theatre at the Hongwanji Mission School, presents a musical production based on Roald Dahl's “;Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,”; with original music composed by the school's music director, Barbara Ellis.

Performers will include 23 students from the third through eighth grades.

The production originally premiered in 1994 at the Jakarta International School in Indonesia, and this staging will be a U.S. premiere. One new song, “;Imagine Life,”; has been written by Ellis and curriculum coordinator JoAnn Jacobs (who also wrote the adapted lyrics with Diana Kerry).

Performances are 7:30 p.m. April 9 through 11, with an additional 4 p.m. matinee on the 11th, at the Honpa Hongwanji Social Hall, 1727 Pali Highway. Tickets are $10 and $5 for students under 14. Call (800) 838-3006 or visit