HONOLULU | Harry’s Cafe is run not by Harry, who I assume once ran it, but Soo Kyung (Christy) Cho since at least the 1990s. I’m know that it’s an institution, but I don’t know why I know that, especially given the relative lack of info about this place online. A chef I know, Paul Bentley, told me their musubi plate is the bomb, but it was already on my list for loco moco. Where the “‘ono” is on the entrance sign, was once the words “99c”, that being the 99c breakfasts that this place was once known for. I’m confused, but I know that I need to be here.
I walk inside, and love the old school diner vibe. Harry’s isn’t a please going for an old school diner aesthetic, it simply never changed. I peruse the menu as a matter of procedure, knowing that I’m here for either the loco moco or the musubi plate. And then I see it. Chicken katsu with rice and macaroni salad. I’m on day nine of my vacation, my final day in Hawaii, and I’m in that I give no more fucks zone when it comes to food. I’ve seen chicken katsu on a few menus around town but have avoided it because I’ve been ordering what the recommended dish is. After all, you don’t travel to eat what you know, right? But like I said, day nine, so chicken katsu it is. Ton/tori katsu is one of my favourite things to eat every, so if I feel like it I should order it, right?
Lauren’s isn’t hungry, her day nine breakfasts focus being “I just want some fruit”. I’m kind of there too, if I’m being honest. And then the chicken katsu arrives. A serving for one that contains two crumbed and fried chicken cutlets, along with two mounds of rice and the ubiquitous Hawaiian macaroni salad that appears on so many plates here. I know I’ve made the right decision.
It’s delicious, and of course Lauren gets in on it, all while we are getting refills of our instant filter coffee which is somehow delicious right now. Despite the two of us munching on a serve for one, we can’t finish it all. I give Christy my money and a generous tip, apologising with guilt that I didn’t eat it all, making some wisecrack about “American serving sizes”. If you evoke feelings of grandmother level guilt in me, you’re doing something right. Harry’s I salute you.
437 Kamakee Street
Telephone: 808 593 7798
Mon – Fri: 5:00am to 2:30pm
Sat: 6:00am to 2:00pm
Sun: 7:00am to 12:00pm