I have Farida to thank for introducing me to Pioneer Saloon this past December. This order at the counter, pick a seat spot is on the same breezy stretch of Monsarrat Avenue that houses Diamond Head Market (aka home to amazing blueberry scones).
They do however, turn out a mean Chicken Katsu Plate, complete with a lightly battered crust and plenty of fatty, easy-to-love dark meat. No extra change for brown rice, which is rare in Hawai’i. The single side dish changes daily, and I’ve had pasta salad, plain green salad, and potato salad in the past.
If you’re a fish person, they also make a Salmon Katsu Plate using salmon belly. The whole thing just melts in your mouth, all steamy hot and moist on the inside. Your choice of tartar sauce or katsu sauce. Certainly enough for lunch and afternoon snack.
Prices average between $6-$10 a plate, a solid deal for the quantity of food. Daily specials posted on a board outside – enough variety so that everyone leaves satisfied. I enjoyed it here so much on my first visit that I brought my grandparents and parents for separate lunch trips.
Grandma is big on salmon, but doesn’t like fried foods so she comes for the Garlic Salmon Plate. You can get the salmon done with miso, garlic, or shio (simply salted). Be warned, the garlic version is pungent!
This is Farida’s fried Tako Plate Lunch – didn’t get to try it, but it looks mighty ono. They were sold out when I came back the following day…will have to wait for my next trip home. Served with furikake rice and pasta salad.
What I like about their Salmon Flakes and Avocado plate is that they mix a ton of fresh chopped shiso with salmon and diced avocado. Served on a bed of furikake rice. It’s easy enough to make at home, and I’ve replicated it few times, usually replacing the rice with somen noodles. Mixed greens and pasta salad in the back. $8 for this plate. If only I could find such deals in Manhattan…
3046 Monsarrat Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815