It seems like Hawaiian BBQ is the hot fast food. Every time I turn around, there's another Hawaiian BBQ place opening up.
Tonight the EE and I planned on sushi at Matsunoya in Fullerton. It's our neighborhood sushi place -- always good, always friendly, always dependable. But the last couple times we've been there, we've had to walk past Maui Hawaiian BBQ in the same strip mall. It's been open for a couple months. Every time we walk by we say, "Gee, we should try that one of these times." This evening we did.
The EE had two appetizers -- the crab rangoon (won tons filled with cream cheese and a smidgen of crab) and fried shrimp (they appeared to be panko-coated). Both were quite servicable.
I had the kalbi-style short ribs. Now, in appearance my "ribs" were a little odd. Imagine a "rack" of three short ribs, cross cut into 3/8" slices. They were a little odd to eat. Each strip of meat had three oval "islands" of bone in it. I didn't think the plastic knife would cut through the rather chewy meat, so I just picked them up and went at them. Nice and garlicky, with that sweetness kalbi has. Tasty. Chewy, but in a good way. My kalbi came with the traditional scoop of rice/scoop of macaroni salad. I asked for double rice, so can't say how the macaroni salad is.
But there was a really tasty facet to my dinner I didn't expect. In most Hawaiian BBQ places I've been to, they serve the meat on top of a pile of lettuce. I suppose this is to make the portion look larger, although I've always gotten plenty to eat at these places. But at Maui Hawaiian BBQ, they put my kalbi on a pile of coarsely chopped cabbage. The hot meat and rice steamed the cabbage gently. It was just tender-crisp, and added a great vegetable to an otherwise not particularly healthy meal.
So, while it's sure not a destination eatery, Maui Hawaiian BBQ gets thumbs up from both the EE and me as a good place to stop if you're in the neighborhood.
I note that in June, Wonginator reviewed a place by the same name in Fountain Valley. Perhaps they're both part of the same chain.
Maui Hawaiian BBQ
1323 S Harbor Blvd
Fullerton, CA 92832
(In the strip mall on the SW corner of Harbor and Orangethorpe)