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Grindz of the Day: Kahai Street Kitchen, Krazy Kitchen & Uncle Tetsu


Kahai Street Kitchen Pulehu Teriyaki Chicken, “lean” version

“We begin today’s Grindz of the Day from whe’ah? From da’ beginning! As well as you may ask.” Sorry, I can never resist Auntie Marialani’s “clever” intro’. lol

We’re back for more from Kahai Street Kitchen, which has been featured here numerous times in the past. Kahai Street Kitchen is located obviously on Kahai Street, about a block makai (ocean-bound) of Alicia’s Market on Mokauwea in scenic Kalihi Kai lol. They’re a “greasy spoon” plate lunch joint, kicking up the genre a notch to gourmet status, depending what you order. These plates were actually from yet another of our catered office luncheons.


Kahai Street Kitchen Pulehu Teriyaki Chicken, “MEAN!” version


Kahai Street Kitchen Chicken Katsu


Kahai Street Kitchen Teriyaki Boneless Shortribs (in contention for “Best Teriyaki  Beef Plate Lunch”!)


Kahai Street Kitchen Teriyaki Boneless Shortribs (in contention for “Best Teriyaki  Beef Plate Lunch”!)

Now we can’t have a massive order of plate lunches without at least one person making the special request, “Gravy all ovah!”…


Kahai Street Kitchen’s Hamburger Steak with Mushrooms & Onions, “Gravy all ovah” option

That person would be Yours Truly, being since I haven’t had a hamburger steak plate lunch for quite some time, knew if doing that, gotta’ do it RIGHT!

“Gravy all ovah” means the rich, thick ‘n beefy-tasting brown gravy being not just DRENCHED over the entree, but also all over the rice AND Macaroni Salad, being basically the entire plate…. you know da’ rules, Cuz!

Case in point, in contrast, here’s Kahai Street Kitchen’s same Hamburger Steak with Mushrooms & Onions plate, without the “Gravy all ovah!” request…


Kahai Street Kitchen’s Hamburger Steak with Mushrooms & Onions, “easy” on da’ gravy

Look da’ Mac’ Salad and rice. Awe da’ pua ‘ting, so lonely, no “love”!

‘Den you go stay get “Gravy all ovah” like my plate…


Mac Salad wit’ “Gravy all ovah”

Oh yeah baby, now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

“All ovah” da’ Mac may look and sound “gross”, but believe me, if da’ brown gravy stay ono, da’ creamy flavah of da’ mayo’, along wit’ da’ tendah’ mac, when stay laddat? Brah, SUPAH ono!

Of course it’s not it’s going to win health awards. Yet then again, if you’re eating a typical local plate lunch, that’s clearly not a priority, anyway. This is PURE COMFORT FOOD, Hawaiian local style. ;-)


Krazy Kitchen daily special: Shrimp Patty with Creamy Pesto, House Tartar and Zesty Aioli, served with roasted Brussel Sprouts, rice AND a Chinese Chicken Salad on the side.

Speaking of gravy all ovah, we’re now also back at Krazy Kitchen, a new plate lunch joint on Maunakea Street in Chinatown. This time starting with yesterday’s daily special, their Shrimp Patty with Creamy Pesto, House Tartar and Zesty Aioli, served with roasted Brussel Sprouts, rice AND a Chinese Chicken Salad on the side. All for just $10.99. Quite a deal! Then again, lunch hour deals are abound in the downtown area.

And WOW, these two massive shrimp patties were pretty much ALL sizeable what looked like hand-chopped chunks of shrimp tail with hardly any filler. And it was seasoned nicely, having enough flavor in and of itself, hardly needing any sauce. Tasted like the shrimp patties were dipped in flour, then sauteed in butter and/or olive oil until crispy outside, fully cooked to moist ‘ ‘n tender inside.

Between the three sauces, while I thought the creamy basil would be “the one” (it usually is), my fave’ was the spicy aioli, as it complimented the shrimp patty the best, having a sort of Old Bay Seasoning” effect, similar to as if these were crab cakes.

The side of roasted brussel sprouts were also EXCELLENT, tasting like they were drizzled with a good quality olive oil, seasoned simply a quality salt and pepper. Cooked to semi-crunchy al dente perfection. In fact, I could just eat a whole plate of these brussel spouts and call it a day!

The side of Chinese Chicken Salad was also quite excellent as well for being a “side dish”, being practically a meal in itself, with lots of tender chicken, a nice blend of fresh ‘n crispy greens, even including Chinese Parsley, along with a very tasty Sesame-based Oriental Dressing.

Summing it up, 5-SPAM Musubi EASY for Krazy Kitchen’s Shrimp Patty plate!

A couple other Krazy Kitchen orders…


Krazy Chicken’s…err I mean Krazy Kitchen’s Chicken Katsu (tongue twister!)


Krazy Kitchen’s Gyudon


Krazy Kitchen’s Hamburger Curry (your standard “local style” beef curry in flavor profile, simply substituted with ground beef instead of stew meat)


Krazy Kitchen’s Mochiko Chicken, Okinawan Roast Pork (Rafute) and Fried Noodles combo plate

That last combo plate was provided by Krazy Kitchen for yet ANOTHER catered office luncheon. Which I must say, the Mochiko Chicken and Okinawan Roast Pork (Rafute) were BOTH excellent. Most times in the past when I’ve tried Mochiko Chicken either catered or takeout, it’s always been on the dry side, Krazy’s was super moist, with a very tasty, semi-crispy, semi-soaked crust, coming across more in flavor and texture like Karaage kitchen… errr, I mean chicken. lol

Good Lord. After just looking at all that stick-to-your-ribs ono ‘kine grindz, here’s how I feel (again)…

Z-Z-zzzzzzz.

Huh? Whuh?

Oh, OK, now that I’m back up from my “Kanak Attack” coma, let’s finish off today’s Grindz of the Day with something sweet at this new bakery chain location from Japan named Uncle Tetsu…

Uncle Tetsu is located in the food court on the third floor of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in Waikiki. My first-time visit here was last weekend, really just dropping by to casually “scope it out”, so don’t take this as a full review.

As the sign says, Uncle Tetsu specializes in Japanese Cheesecake, along with several other signature fresh-baked pastries…

Uncle Tetsu’s claim-to-fame, their fresh-baked Japanese Cheesecake…

Uncle Tetsu’s Coconut Madeleine’s…


Uncle Tetsu’s Honey Madeleines…

Uncle Tetsu’s Ooey Gooey Cookies (now these look like something I’d really like!)…

As you may have noticed on their main menu board, Uncle Tetsu also specializes in bubble drinks, where here’s your starting point..

Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecakes are all indeed baked fresh right there throughout the day and evening…

I actually wasn’t planning on it during this happen-to-drop-by visit, however the nice gal working there asked if I’d like to sample a small slice, to which I said shoots!….

She was even so kind to split their Japanese style Cheesecake in half for a good interior “money shot”!…

As their sign describes, it does indeed appear light and fluffy, being much less dense than the rich New York style cheesecakes.

Here’s my sample…

Notice how crumbly it is, and also that it doesn’t sit atop or in a crunchy pie crust like your typical American Cheesecake.

And? You know what, I’m not a cake fan, so you’re asking the wrong guy, as this is clearly a hybrid of a cake and cheesecake. My initial impression is just that: hybrid cheesecake-meets-cake. I mean, like your typical birthday cake, cake. So it’s kinda’ moist, yet kinda’ dry. Kinda’ dense, yet kinda’ airy. The baked top definitely gives it a nice ‘n “golden” flavor accent.

I think its lightness will appeal to certain folks, but I personally like my cheesecakes sexy sweet, “buttery”, dense and rich as hell.

Then again also, I only had a complimentary small slice, and didn’t buy an entire cheesecake to take home and enjoy with a nice cup of Kona Coffee. Which I’m sure it would shine much more than on its own in such a small amount, as I first tried it here.

I’ll definitely do a dedicated review of Uncle Tetsu Bakery in Waikiki later down the road after I try some other stuff (such as that oishii looking Ooey Gooey Cookie!), have a second shot at their Signature Japanese Cheesecake, as well as get to have a Q&A with management.

Until next time, toodles! ;-)

9 thoughts on “Grindz of the Day: Kahai Street Kitchen, Krazy Kitchen & Uncle Tetsu

  • March 31, 2016 at 5:12 pm
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    The mac salad at the first place looks like a glob of mayo with a small pasta garnish! I’m sure that’s ideal deliciousness for some, but my kind of nightmare. Confession time: I’ve never tried mac salad. Or traditional (mayo) potato salad for that matter. Never in my whole life! But I do make my own potato salad with either sour cream or a white wine/lemon/Dijon dressing.

    Reply
    • March 31, 2016 at 5:25 pm
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      h,

      You hit the nail on the head about the Mac Salad looking like a “glob of mayo’ with small pasta garnish”. It’s the total “sin” in local plate lunch. I mean really? Rice + Pasta smothered in Mayo’ and that’s considered a “complete meal”? Yet sometimes it really does hit the spot as unapologetic stick-to-your-ribs comfort food for those of us raised with it, like any other regional, typically “whoah?!” kinda’ comfort food.

      Mac’ Salad is a Hawaii sugarcane and pineapple plantation generation thing (said to be influenced from the Portuguese and German laborers and bosses), that remained popular all the way up to the Baby Boomers and some Gen’ X folks. However the younger generations (millenials and Gen’ Z) who grew in Hawaii are becoming much more health-conscious and gastronomically diverse due to educational exposure via modern media (Food Network, internet, etc.).

      That said, interestingly SPAM — a remnant from World War II military influence in Hawaii — is bigger than ever here, ESPECIALLY with the younger generation. Go figure.

      My sister makes this awesome “Fully Loaded Baked Potato Salad” that’s like a potato salad with all the baked potato fixinz’, including the sour cream (mixed with the Mayo’). Good stuff!

      Reply
      • April 1, 2016 at 6:12 am
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        Most people I know love mac salad. I like pasta salad with vinaigrette, and I even love to mix some ranch dressing into that (I know ranch has mayo but shhhh! I like to ignore that fact). But that mac salad there looks like a spoonful of mayo in each bite!! Then again, I know of a few people who can eat mayo with a spoon. I can definitely see how the mac salad would need the “gravy all ovah” to take away the richness and mayoness.

        Actually I totally understand the gravy all over concept when it comes to comfort food. I like to mix comfort foods together, which is weird, I know. For instance, thanksgiving side dishes… string bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing? Mix that all together. If I ate gravy, I’d mix that in too. Of course I only do this with leftovers, it would probably be the height of poor manners to mix it all together at the dinner table!! It would look like vomit on a plate!

        I really like my potato salad recipe with sour cream, it’s adapted from my mom’s recipe and it has sliced radishes in it, which is probably unusual. Whenever I make it, she complains that it needs some mayo mixed in. Mayo is creamy, sour cream is creamy, how does she even notice the missing mayo? I guess it’s just a mayo eater thing.

         

        Reply
  • March 31, 2016 at 11:24 pm
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    Every time when I visited Taiwan for cotton cheesecake which is Uncle

    Tetsu the line was pretty long so missed out trying it.  Happy with news

    of one in Honolulu at last.

    Reply
  • April 1, 2016 at 8:51 am
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    @ Amy – So they call it “Cotton Cheesecake” out there in Taiwan, huh? Hmmm. Interesting. That alone is a VERY marketable name, which in fact, as of when I just checked, http://www.CottonCheesecake.com is available. I’d register it myself, however I have NO interest in the Cheesecake baking biz. Go get it!

    @ h – Wow, OK. And here I thought no one you know would even TOUCH Macaroni Salad. lol

    “Gravy all ovah” is definitely a Thankgiving feast ritual. I LIVE for Turkey Gravy on Thankgiving Day. You could have the most AMAZING spread of food on TG Day, but no Turkey drippinz gravy? NO WAY! I’m out! lol

    As for mixing food together, I’m kinda’ weird about that. Breakfast food like eggs, rice and bacon? Yep. Mix ’em up. Stick it in a blender and I’d still eat it. Gourmet dishes such as say Sauteed Monchong, with a side of Haleiwa Hash and Kamuela Lomi Tomato with “Small ‘Kine” Salmon? I would eat each part of the dish separately, and I mean one at a time. So first finish the fish, then the sides. Not eating some of this, then some of that. I’m weird like that when it comes to eating.

    Please share  your mom’s Potato Salad recipe with radish. That sounds DELISH! Like your Drandma Dot’s Latkes recipe, I’ll add it to the list!

    Gosh, now I’m craving Latkes (topped with Sour Cream and Apple Sauce!), and still owe you a post on making Grandma Dot’s take on it. “Pancake” style. ;-)

    Reply
    • April 1, 2016 at 9:21 am
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      Mmm, latkes. I haven’t had them in ages. There’s a NY-style deli here that will make your sandwich (mile-high pastrami, a ruben, roast beef, whatever you want) with potato latkes instead of bread. Heart attack on a plate!

      Speaking of latkes, it’s nearly Passover time, and that means another popular jewish dish: potato kugel (there are various types of kugel, including sweet or savory noodle kugel, and most holidays include kugel in the menu, but on passover, you can’t have bread, noodles, or anything like that, so potato or potato-and-other-vegetable it is). You might like it. I use this recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/204133/old-fashioned-potato-kugel/ but instead of grating the potatos, I just blend them (because I’m lazy like that). It’s pretty easy, you should try it. It’s also good with an extra onion and way more black pepper than it calls for.

      btw, since you like cheesecake without the crust, and you also like baked custard, you might also like this cheesecake flan dish I always bring to passover dinner (can’t have regular cakes, crusts for pie, regular cookies, etc.). I leave out the orange zest, because I prefer a more neutral flavor, but that’s just me. It’s super easy to make and so rich, just one feeds a ton of people: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/caramel-flan-cheesecake-recipe.html

      As for my potato salad recipe, I don’t really have one worth publishing. I always use red potatoes because, again, lazy. I don’t have to peel them. Some chopped celery, minced onion, thinly sliced radish, sometimes I chop pickles, sometimes I add pickle relish, depends on my mood. Then I add sour cream, black pepper and dry mustard. Sometimes instead of dry mustard, I add curry powder. Sometimes I use regular mustard instead of dry mustard. See what I mean? No real recipe.

       

      Reply
  • April 3, 2016 at 8:26 am
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    The hamburger plate and shrimp patty’s win the day. The mac salad thing was not the Kauai way until a couple decades ago. The Kauai way was a potato/mac combo, often with cut spaghetti noodles in place of the mac. And way less mayo. Unfortuately labor and cost have let regular mac salad in the mix. For the older style, go to Po’s (where you reviewed), Dani’s or TipTop. All in lihue.

    Reply
  • April 3, 2016 at 8:55 am
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    Pat,

    “Decades ago”? I can’t recall eating anything beyond my 20+ years on this planet as an adult, let alone Macaroni and potato salad. How old are you? 200 years old? LOL!

    Po’s is seriously OLD SCHOOL OKAZUYA style. LOVE how she puts everything directly in the wax-lined cardboard paper plate lunch BOX. Classic!

    Reply
  • April 5, 2016 at 5:18 am
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    Just ret’d from Hono; while there, we picked up a couple of Uncle Tetsu cheesecakes to take as gifts for relatives.  Had to make two trips — they had a sign that said “one per customer”; so they must be popular.  One of the giftees lives in Niu Valley and one in Pearl City.  Neither had tried it yet (good on us, right?).  Agree, it was very airy and light.  Would have been ideal with a strong cup of coffee; they sort of acknowledge this, by offering a coffee-flavored version of the same cake.  btw, still love this frickin’ site.  Pomai, youdaman.

     

     

    Reply

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