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L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

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L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

Paul S. | Jan 17, 2002 10:41 AM

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

Tried L&L yesterday after seeing it mentioned here a while back.

L&L’s menu says, “Ask any islander-the most famous plate lunch restaurant in Hawaii is L&L…this popular chain has over 50 locations in the islands… L&L …is known for its large portions, freshly cooked food, and its reasonable prices.”

This branch, located at 1258C W. Redondo Beach, Gardena is a small fast-food type place. I ordered the Seafood Combo. I could hear and just see the shrimp and mahi-mahi frying in the back, so my meal was freshly cooked. (I assume and expect the fish and seafood were once frozen.) And the portions are good size given you get a small macaroni salad, some sliced, dry cabbage and the usual “two scoops” rice. (Always too much rice filler for me in these plate lunches.)

To my tastes, the large butterflied shrimp were too breaded and dry. I spiffed it up with the tartar sauce that accompanied it. The mahi-mahi was overly fried. My choice of BBQ short ribs had a tasty, sweet bbq covering, but the meat itself was gristly and overly tough. A bbq disappointment. Especially as I’ve had so much better at other Hawaiian places.

For close to $8.00 (includes tax), my opinion is L&L is no great bargain and no great chowhouund find. Given that the Torrance/Gardena/Carson area has several Hawaiian restaurants, and I know at least one other plate-lunch quick-serve place (Teriyaki Hawaii at 1425 Artesia Blvd – about across the street from the 99 Ranch Market), I see L&L being for someone who is in the area of the restaurant who wants to try an example of Hawaiian fast food or is homesick for Hawaii.

If I were in the neighborhood of L&L I maybe might stop in again to try the Saimen or the Musubi. I’ve tried spam musubi at The Loft in Torrance - that must be an acquired taste that I don’t have! L&L has other types of musubi – shrimp, chicken katsu, etc. that I’ve not seen on Hawaiian menus before. (I’m not from Hawaii, and I don’t claim to know Hawaiian food.)

Close to L&L at 1636 West Redondo, between Western & Normandie, there’s a Japanese supermarket (in the same shopping center as Sea Empress Seafood Restaurant). Now their prepared lunches ARE worth checking out. For about $5.50, I selected a nice tempura meal with vegetable, squid, shrimp, too much rice, and some interesting side condiments. (One large plate lunch at L&L not being sufficient for the true chowhound.)
They also have the bento boxes and some Hawaiian style prepared lunches. Their steam table takeout looked interesting enough too.

I’ve also been to TnT’s Aloha Café recently (The Village Center, 24034 Vista Montana, Torrance.) Where L&L is set up in a typical McD fashion, TnT seems like a small friendly, neighborhood place. It was packed full at 1:30 for lunch. TnT seems to be typical of the genre - Hawaiian breakfasts, sandwiches, rice bowls, various plates.

regards,

Paul S.

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