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Review: Kahuna's Tiki Bar & Grill: The Hawaiian Hooters


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Review: Kahuna's Tiki Bar & Grill: The Hawaiian Hooters

dinaofdoom | Feb 28, 2009 11:06 AM

Kahuna's Tiki Bar & Grill
6301 W. Parmer Lane
(Plaza w/Chipotle's and Little Woodrow's)

Living in NW Austin, there aren't a lot of non-chain options.
So, I get a little giddy when I see something in the Hardhat Report thread or notice construction when I'm out and about.
But, sadly, a lot of restauranteurs are letting us uptown girls and boys down (see the thread on the Los Reyes Mexican Grill opening).
And, most of you beat me to the punch of reviewing a place, so here goes with my first attempt!

It didn't bode well that I called ahead to ask for a menu faxed to my office, so that my co-workers and I could make lunch plans.
The person who answered the phone said she didn't know how to use the fax, so she would email it to me...and it never came.
Oh well, I thought, I'll try it anyway.

The place:
This is in the old Curra Long Bar's location.
And while their service was horrendous, and certainly contributed to its demise, it was still really nice to have a place nearby where I could get some tacos and a marg.

The space is almost the same, except for the Tiki decor, which consists of some straw skirts tacked about and some pseudo-Polynesian masks.
There are a LOT of flat screens all over the place, and it was kinda giving me ADD because they were all tuned to Extreme sports.
It was extremely loud, and very cheezy hard rock was pumpin' (David Lee Roth, anyone?).
The hard rock was pretty funny, considering that it was doubtful any of the waitstaff were born yet when it was recorded.

The staff:
They clearly recruited from McNeil High School up the street, because all of the wait staff were barely pubescent pretty young things.
The exception was one dude, in cargo shorts, who was too busy hitting on all the short-short girls to do much of anything.
There was a guy with a huge gut camped out at a corner table, who I can only assume was the manager or owner. I say this because there were several girls sitting with him and chatting, including my server, who was too busy re-applying lip gloss and black eyeliner to notice that the hostess had seated me.
The really funny part is that there are about 5 or 7 Latino guys in the kitchen, standing at the counter and watching everyone, while this other guy stands around in full-on chef-ware.
Like this place needs an Executive Chef or something.

Speaking of shorts... Who wears short-shorts? Kahuna girls wear short-shorts!
he girls were wearing what can only be described as khaki hot pants.
They were the shortest shorts I have seen in a restaurant, ever.
And the rest of the uniform consists of little midriff-baring tanks.

It made me really uncomfortable.

The meal:
The menu is actually a laminated placemat, which I didn't realize at first.
The fare consists of the typical burgers and tacos type stuff that is so common here in Austin.
I was confused by the $13 rib app, as the price point exceeds the entrees.
That is just an odd thing to do.

They have a Happy Hour M-F 4-7, which is just $3 drinks (wells, margs & beer).
Even though they have been open for over a week, they still don't have their frozen margarita machine.
I had ordered one, but then was informed of this later and had to go with a marg on the rocks.
Apparently, they never heard of a blender, but I digress.
The drink was pretty watery, so I ended up needing to have 2, whereas a well-made single drink would have normally done it for me.
Since they were only $3 a pop, I guess I can't complain too much.

After deciding on fish tacos (tilapia breaded with panko, served with shredded cabbage, pico, chipotle ranch on corn tortillas, $8.95), my waitress gushed that they were her favorite.
Pet peeve alert: restaurants, do not specify that your dish is made with certain ingredients when it is not!
The tilapia had regular unseasoned breadcrumbs, more akin to a chicken parm than a fish taco.
The corn tortillas were much too small for the tacos, so they doubled them up.
It was so impossible to eat, I had to use my knife and fork, which made me look way daintier than I really am.
They were just okay.
The fish was very hot, which is the nicest thing I can say.

It took my server so long to come back to me that my marg had already turned into "second drink (The Office reference, haha).
I was still REALLY hungry but decided it was best to leave.

All in all, I am not sure I will be back.
I do like to give places a few tries, but I'm going to have to wait a bit 'til they work out the kinks.

They need to decide if they want to be a restaurant, or a place where former frat boys congregate to look at underage eye candy while drinking $3 bud lights.

Convenient location
Happy Hour drink specials
Full bar

Off-putting over-sexualized wait-staff
Weak drinks
So-so food

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