Restaurants & Bars 1

Ono? O yes ; ) (long)

Brad Kaplan | Mar 3, 2003 05:22 PM

Sunday morning, glorious day, after a hike in Pacifica at San Pedro Valley (haven't been there? go! we were headed down towards Half Moon Bay and ready for lunch.

Barbara's Fishtrap? Flying Fish Grill? The Anchorage? Been there, done that. Thanks to a previous posting here and many drive bys on route 1 witnessing a crowded house, we decided to give Ono Hawaiian Grill in Half Moon Bay a try. It's just north of the Miramar area, about midway between Pillar Point and 92.

It was nearly a full house, we snagged a table without a wait at 1PM. There's a nice island/surfer vibe to the place, friendly and casual, with some serious eating going on. Big plates of smoked pork, sticky rice, macaroni salad. Bowls of saimin steaming. Surfboards line the walls to remind you that Mavericks is just a few miles away.

The menu is filled with island classics with the requisite sides of rice and macaroni salad. I searched in vain for spam, to no avail. The smoked pork looked, and smelled, like the popular favorite, so we chose that and (to balance it out with something more health-sensitive) the ahi tuna poki. The FREE bonus keiki plate for our one year old daughter consisted of a teriyaki chicken and rice.

First up was the poki. (And it came out pretty quickly, not pokey at all). A large plate of bright red chunks of Ahi, sliced onions and cabbage, scallions, plus chopped ginger and garlic and a sesame-soy marinade. Not the best poki I've ever had, but very very good. The onion was a bit too strong, the tuna not quite the best cuts, but the combination of flavors and textures was excellent, especially the right amount of ginger mixed in and the pleasant crunch of the cabbage. It was listed at market price, and we were a bit surpised when we got the check that it cost so much - $15 - though it was a very generous portion (and listed as an appetizer!).

Next up was the pork - we ordered the small size and I have a hard time believing someone could finish anything bigger. The meat was perfectly done, wonderfully succulent and tender, a nice hint of smokiness. The sticky rice made a perfect accompaniment, though I must say I'm not a big fun of macaroni salad. I added a few splashes of Tabasco to give it a bit more of a kick, and that was perfect for me.

We also had a great side of kim chee, crisp and spicy, not too vinegary. And my wife's favorite? The keiki plate! A very nice side of teriyaki chicken that was not too saucy, not too sweet, but incredibly yummy - perfect for kids - along a scoop of rice. She commented that next time back we'd have to try a teriyaki chicken sandwich.

Service was very friendly and quick, no complaints. Prices were very reasonable, though not dirt cheap (I think the pork plate was $8 and the side of kim chee was $1).

Ono is clearly a place that has found a winning combination of great island-flavored food, casual family-friendly surfer atmosphere, and convenient coastside location for all the locals and daytrippers down from the city or out from the peninsula. We'll be back.

I found a copy of their Poki recipe if anyone is interested -

The dirt:
Ono Hawaiian Grill
3048 N Cabrillo Hwy, Half Moon Bay
Tues, Wed 4:30 - 10:00 p.m.
Thurs 11:30 - 2:00 p.m., 4:30 -10:00 p.m.
Fri 11:30 - 2:00 p.m., 5:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Sat, Sun 11:30 - 10:00 p.m.
Closed Monday
(650) 726-8114

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