Crazy as it may sound, I’ve never been to Wasabi Bistro. But what sounds even crazier is that my 3 friends who have lived here their entire lives have never been there, either. And we all love to eat out so I’m not sure why we’ve never bothered to try this place. I’m sure many of you have been here at least once…shame on you for not telling me how awesome this place is! After eating here I was upset with myself for not coming here sooner. What the hell have I been doing? Anyway…
I judge my Japanese restaurants by their katsu. Usually it’s just tonkatsu, but if Hire Katsu (Fillet Katsu) is on the menu then that’s what I go with. I’m very very picky about Hire Katsu. Some places I’ve been to in Hawaii serve it and I have to question how and why they even get away with calling it “Hire Katsu”. Hire Katsu should have no gristle, no chunks of fat on the ends, just pure pork cooked to tender perfection. Seasoned with ginger and a little garlic, and seriously…tender. I saw the price of my Hire Katsu Teishoku ($16.95) and that’s when my expectations began to rise. My friend ordered Misoyaki Butterfish ($20.95) and that price shocked the hell out of me. Needless to say, her expectations were definitely higher than mine. Another friend order a combo meal, Tempura and Katsu ($21.95). The service was ok. Nothing outstanding. Didn’t even bother to get the guy’s name. Actually, there were 2 guys trading off, asking if we were doing ok. I guess they had to entertain us while we waited the half hour for our food.
And then, the magic happened:
(Excuse the poor picture quality, I only had my camera phone.)
At first glance, the breading on the katsu made me think, “oh no it’s another crappy piece of katsu”. It was thin and did not stick to the katsu well. However, after just one bite, it proved me wrong. This katsu is fabulous! As all katsu teishoku should, it comes with a little suribachi with white sesame seeds. You grind them and mix it into your katsu sauce. Very nice. I wish they toasted the seeds first, though. You can barely taste the sesame in the sauce.
The tempura and katsu combo was pretty good. It’s basically your typical assortment of shrimp and veggie tempura, and a smaller portion of my Hire Katsu.
The Misoyaki Butterfish made Wasabi Bistro jump onto my friend’s “Top 5” list. She hates it when the fish is smothered in miso, as if it’s smothered chicken. At this place, she was served a sizeable piece of fish and it was more “glazed” with miso than smothered. She really appreciated that.
Overall we were pretty impressed. The food backed up its pricing…the service could be a bit better, but we were still satisfied in the end. And that’s pretty impressive, because I’m notorious for getting terrible service, or just plain terrible food (you know, those random acts of finding extra goodies in your salad and such). I finally found a place that serves a decent Hire Katsu ! We’ll definitely be back again. I hear Imperial Kaffe is famous for HIre Katsu, too. That just might have to be my next “review”. Oh great, now I’m hungry.