Having been to Hawaii several times and having a Somoan uncle who lives in Hawaii, I'm always a little suspicious of Hawaiian food on the mainland. I've tried a few places in Portland that have been disappointing. Just tried Noho's for the first time.
They were out of ribs, which was a little annoying, but I was happy with what I got. We ordered some Portuguese sausage for an appetizer, the spicy ono chicken for me, and the saimin for my wife. I was actually hoping my wife would order the mahi mahi special, but she wasn't in the mood for fish. The area I've seen the greatest lack in Hawaiian places in Portland is the quality of the fish. Mahi mahi is an awesome fish if you get it in Hawaii, but it's often fishy her on the mainland, especially cheaper places like Hawaiian cafes. So that would have been an excellent test. So if you've had the fish there, report, please.
The sausage was tasty and grilled nicely. It was a decent portion for the $6 price served on some shredded cabbage. I would guess there were six large sausages split.
The ono chicken, like with most of the other entrees, comes as a "plate lunch", that is, entree with rice and macaroni salad just like you get in Hawaii. I got the menehune (name for the mythical small ancient people of Hawaii) platter for $7-something. It was another very fair portion. Plenty of food. I was actually glad I didn't get a larger portion and I even gave my starches to my wife (though I ate most of the sausage). It was shredded, tender, and moist with quite a bit of heat. There was a little sweetness to offset the heat. It was pretty good. This is simple food, like teriyaki chicken and the like, but good for what it is and the price.
Lisa's saimin would have a hard time living up to some that we've had in Hawaii, especially on our trip to Kauai (if you ever go to Hawaii definitely buy the "Ultimate Guidebook" series because they are awesome, like the best of Chowhound for everything imaginable and all in one place). We had eaten several times at this local joint, almost no white people, Hamura's Saimin that had one of the best broths I've ever tasted anywhere. I can still remember it vividly a couple years later. Noho's wasn't that, but it was good. It had a nice broth, some decent pork chunks, and nice noodles. And it's only $5 or so.
We got out of there for less than $20, were pretty happy with our meal, and were pleasantly reminded of our trips to Hawaii. I look forward to trying it again. Hopefully they have good fish.
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