A few weeks ago I made a stop at Staples for pen refills, and decided to grab a bite at Ohana Grill next door. Said to be one of the better Hawaiian plate chains, this was my first time at any location of this local restaurant group.
I was quite excited to see lau lau on the menu and asked the manager, Jeffrey, if he recommended it. He suggested the combo with kalua pork. Well, bad mistake. This lau lau is on the top 10 list of worst things that I've ever been served to eat. Then I found out that it's made in Hawaii and sent here frozen. The taro leaves were tough and inedible, the piece of butterfish was less than 1 cm2, and the bits of chicken were completely dessicated and fibrous. The kalua pork tasted like artificial smoke and too much salt. Oh, and the macaroni salad was bad too.
Watching me push around the lau lau looking for the alleged butterfish and witnessing my obvious distaste, the manager offered me a free plate of BBQ chicken, the most popular item here. Made with marinated, boneless thigh meat, it was quite juicy and seemed cooked to order. Certainly too salty with a processed fast food taste, but a couple bites of it made up dinner. I appreciated the gesture.
The best thing here was the scoops of rice that I topped with the self-serve gingery soy sauce condiment.
Ohana Hawaiian Barbecue
205 S McDowell Blvd, Petaluma, CA 94954