Restaurants & Bars 6

Hawaiian in Mountain View

Peter Yee | Mar 9, 2005 06:50 PM

Seems like Mountain View is becoming a Hawaiian plate lunch hotspot. Besides Da Kitchen, there is a new place named Lukoki at 506 Showers Drive. This is a corner of the San Antonio Shopping Center next to the Dairy Queen.

The menu is more extensive than Da Kitchens, with around 4 different plates available in the categories of seafood (fried items), beef (short ribs, for example), chicken, and pork. They also have 4 different musubi, various saimin, poi, and pearl teas (from the next door pearl tea cafe).

Having enlisted my son Andrew's aid in trying Da Kitchen a couple of weeks ago, I once again dragged him along to compare Lukoki. We ordered a kalua pork lunch plate, fried spam saimin, combo musubi, and poi. We also had a POG and passionfruit pearl tea to wash it all down.

The good:

The combo musubi was spam and chicken katsu. Tasty and good sized. The spam was saltier than Da Kitchen's which is a good thing in my book -- Da Kitchen's tastes like they used the low sodium variety.

The not so good:

The poi tasted like poi mix and was the fresh variety, not the day old. So there was no sour taste to it, leaving it very boring. I know many people do not like poi at all, but I like the day old variety for the more complex taste.

The saimin was mealy tasting yellow noodles, lots of vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and zucchini) that were barely cooked, and a slice of fried spam. The vegetables were off-putting to say the least, but it was the mealy noodles that were hard to swallow. The tasted like they were coated in raw flour. Neither Andrew nor I bothered to consume the broth.

And finally, sadly, the kalua pork. This was the whole reason I went to Lukoki. I love kalua pork. Da Kitchen makes a pretty good showing (for not having an imu and a whole pig). DK's salty and smoky, simulating the real thing from Hawaii. Lukoki's was heavy on the cabbage, light on the pork, and strongly tasting of ginger. Not much salt, no smoke. Too top it off, they didn't put the macaroni salad on the plate, just two scoops of rice. It wasn't until I asked about the missing salad (quite apparent in the pictures over the counter) that they simply said they had run out. To their credit, they whipped some up and brought it out towards the end of the meal.

Portions at Lukoki are smaller than at Da Kitchen. For some this is probably a good thing -- eat at Da Kitchen and you may end up looking like a Hawaiian native (said lovingly, mind you). The portions are that big.

As for ambience, Lukoki's doesn't feel like a cheap plate lunch place in the islands, but it's squeaky clean, has CNN on the plasma TV on the wall and Hawaiian music. A surf board and generic hula-dancers-on-the-beach are the decorations.

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