I’d been dying to go on another eating adventure with my friends who like to seek out off-menu items in restaurants. The secret menu, or “ura menu,” tends to be a selection of several items that are known only to insiders or employees. I don’t know if ura menu items really do taste better, or if relishing the fact that you ate something that no one else knew to order makes it seem that much more delicious — but they’re always fun to try. You may have already seen the ura menu at Kaiwa. This time, we went to Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin, which has been pumping in Waikiki for more than five years now, despite its $20-plus pork cutlets.
Ginza Bairin's secret menu (3 of 14)
When I first saw the organic chicken katsu ($17), I thought, "So what? Chicken is chicken." But this ended up being one of our favorite items. Bairin's signature light and crispy deep fried crust is a great contrast to the tender and moist chicken. I almost couldn't stop eating it — except for the fact that I had to share it with others on the table.