Just asking…

Have you ever had a tomahawk rib-eye steak?

Neither have I.

For meat lovers, this might possibly be the ultimate dream entrée.. You won’t find it at an Outback Steak House, simply because the tomahawk is a premium cut, likely not on a steak emporium’s everyday menu, but truly a special menu item, when available.

More than being a pricey item —  I’ve seen some online mentions of $100 to $400-plus – this hefty steak, commonly 40-oz. of joy, has a wow factor. Have you seen a platter boasting a tomahawk that passes your table? Everyone looks and you’ll hear the the reactionary oohs and ahhs.

So, what, exactly, is a tomahawk steak? According to Ruth’s Chris Steak House, the tomahawk is essentially a special cut of a ribeye beef steak with at least five inches of the rib bone intact. The longish French-trimmed bone creates what resembles a handle; “Frenching” is a culinary technique also utilized to shape a rack of lamb.

And obviously, the “tomahawk” element refers to a Native American axe, and the steak size makes it look like weapon one could yield.

I wouldn’t order one anytime soon, since I’m still in recovery mode of the removal of my gall bladder, and my current diet does not include meat. Then again, if I someday order a steak, a ribeye, with bone in, would be better suited to my appetite and budget. A tomahawk could easily feed four. But joy of joys; to have that massive bone to-go, to gnaw and nibble at home, would be blissful.

If you’re tomahawk inclined, you might inquire at such steak houses as Hy’s Steak House, Wolfgang’s, Signature, Ruth’s Chris and possibly Roy’s.

Share your reaction if you make the plunge and go for it.


Chef Roy Yamaguchi, a culinary standout for 40 years who will mark his 35th anniversary of his flagship Roy’s Restaurant in Hawaii Kai on Dec. 6, is the next executive director of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific (CIP) at Kapiolani Community College.

His appointment was approved by the University of Hawaii Board of Regents at their Nov. 16 meeting and Yamaguchi’s start date is Jan. 2, 2024.

“Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a deep commitment to education by founding and sponsoring scholarship programs and fundraising campaigns that have supported countless students at high schools and colleges here and abroad,” said Kapiolani CC Chancellor Misaki Takabayashi.

While Yamaguchi has been a standout in the restaurant industry globally for more than four decades, he has managed more than 40 restaurants around the world, as chef, founder, and owner.

Yamaguchi, pictured above, was one of the 12 founding members of the innovative Hawaii Regional Cuisine organization, which changed the taste and face of island dining. Established in 1991, the concept advocated a network of farmers and ranchers to become resources so Hawaii foodies could enjoy farm-to-table ingredients, flavored and favored by the domestic chefs who created a fusion of fresh ingredients on all the islands to yield cuisine reflecting ethnic elements, embracing Hawaii’s multi-cultural palate as well as multi-nationality population.,

The plan was wildly successful on all fronts, enabling Hawaii to become a pioneering culinary destination, the impact of which continues today.

It was win-win for the cooks as well as providers of the resources of farm and stables, making the concept a resounding success.

Besides Yamaguchi, the founding chefs of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine were Sam Choy, Roger Dikon, Mark Ellman, Amy Ferguson Ota, Beverly Gannon, Jean-Marie Josselin, George Mavrothalassitis, Peter Merriman, Philippe Padovani, Gary Strehl and Alan Wong.

As the culinary program executive director, Yamaguchi will oversee the credit and non-credit programs, culinary research, food innovation, internships, and apprenticeships. Though the position is salaried, Yamaguchi will donate his entire salary to the University of Hawaii
fFoundation to provide funds to cover scholarships to the culinary students at KCC, the future chefs of Hawaii.

Roy’s 35th anniversary gala, from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6, is themed “Voyage of Flavors,” to be held at Yamaguchi’s flagship eatery. It will assemble a flock of chefs, each creating dishes for guests. Joining Yamaguchi are Celestine Drago, Dean Fearing, Michal Mia, Raphael Lunetta, Vickram Garg, Jonathan Waxman and Alan Wong.
Tickets are $250 and include three drinks, tax, gratuity, and food prepared at food stations by the all-star staff.

For reservations, visit www.royyamaguchi.com …

And that’s Show Biz…


After a three-to-four year absence from the menu, Zippy’s has reinstated its popular clubhouse sandwich recently. Had one for a late dinner at the Kaneohe restaurant last night, after taking in the I’m a Bright Kid Foundation musical at Paliku Theatre. Comes with French fries.

But alas, Zippy’s continues to neglect wait-help; service is horribly slow, even to get a table, and more waiting to place your order when you’re seated.

OK, all restaurants lack the help they need, but understaffing will be detrimental down the line. That was one of many issues leading to the closure of the Koko Marina dining room in Hawaii Kai.


Welcome to Chow Fun. Beginning with this posting, we’ll share periodic chats about food and dining. More informal revelations than the usual reviews, with focus on chowing … from snacks to casual dining.

Had a recent yearning for BBQ ribs, so ventured to Tex808 BBQ & Brews at the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center. This joint is jumping, for folks hungry for ribs and brisket.

Made two visits, since what I wanted to try the first time – the kal bi ribs – was sold out.

So, I ordered the usual ribs, with a choice of sauces, which wound up being a generous portion. I ate one half, taking the leftover home.

Still curious about the kal bi, I returned a week later and ordered ‘em.

The Tex88 kal bi, served with rice and salad on an aluminum tray.

Alas, I had mixed feelings. While the portion also was plentiful  – two rather thick slabs, not the thinner cuts you get at Yummy BBQ outlets or Kim’s (in Hawaii Kai), so I consumed one, took one home.

Frankly, if you like Korean kal bi, stick to a Korean  BBQ restaurant. The Tex version had the Korean flavor, but it’s smoked like the house ribs, so the ribs were tough and  dry. The butter knife provided (no serrated knife) could not easily cut through the meat.

Menu diversity is wonderful, but the kal bi here turns out to be a disappointing distraction.

The ribs and brisket come with choices of starch (rice, fries) and sides (like potato-mac salad, baked beans). The cafeteria style presentation – an aluminum tray with the entrée, with the sides served in paper luau-type mini-trays – was functional but uninspired.

There are tables facing the Hawaii Kai marina, and boats float by and there are mutual waving, from boaters and diners. On a dark night, blackness rules, with glistening lights from residents across the bay.

The waitstaff is friendly, and your server is your cashier, and mine signed me up for frequent diner points, but didn’t explain the rewards. There’s (loud) music some nights, perhaps targeting bar-area folks.

Another setback: the restaurant doesn’t serve coffee or tea but offers soda and wine.