Visiting the South Bay once or twice a month for business, yesterday I decided to eat at another Hawaiian place that was new to me. I picked Island Grinds - Sully's Restaurant and Tavern in Torrance.
I wondered a bit what that would be like: a restaurant that merges with another and has two names. Well, near as I can figure, I guess Sully's is the bar part of the restaurant, while the menu is all Hawaiian, which I figure is the Island Grinds part.
It was quite empty on a Monday afternoon when I showed up at noon. With no host/hostess at the door and all of the restaurant tables empty, I had to do a double-take to make sure I was in the right place. I sat down at a table to see what would happen.
That's when the waitress behind the bar picked up a menu and came over to me to take my order. Not sure if it was just a lunch menu I was looking at or if that was the full menu, but it looked like an all-Hawaiian menu. Prices were all quite reasonable, with most items in the $6-8 range, and the most expensive item at $10. I decided on the $10 item, which was a new item that I hadn't tried during my vacation trips to Hawaii or my visits to Hawaiian restaurants in SoCal: lau lau and lomi.
What the heck is lau lau and lomi, you might ask? A very traditional Hawaiian dish, where the lau lau is salted pork that is wrapped and cooked inside taro leaves (also known as Hawaiian spinach leaves), with some butterfish mixed in for seasoning. Lomi is the side dish/condiment, which is small bits of salmon chopped up with tomatoes and onions and marinated in lemon juice, almost treated like a salsa.
Very tasty, very good, the lau lau and lomi was served with two scoops of rice, a scoop of cabbage, and a scoop of macaroni salad.
As for the rest of the menu, it seemed to consist of many of the regular items you'd find at Hawaiian retaurants, like teriyaki chicken, kalua pork, kalbi short ribs, beef katsu, loco moco, etc.
Three or four more tables did fill up as I was eating, so I wasn't the only patron eating there that afternoon. :-)
Island Grinds - Sully's Restaurant and Tavern
22735 Hawthorne Blvd.
Now that I've had my first taste of lau lau and lomi, I'll have to head back to some of the other traditional Hawaiian places like Bruddah's and Bob's Okazu-ya to see if they also have it on the menu and do a comparison.