Went last night to Rick's, a restaurant on Taraval and 30th that does a hawaiian night on the first Monday of every month. Actually, it was suggested by a few Chowhounders in a response to a post of mine looking for Hawaiian food. Rick's was fantastic and I want to tell you about it.
First off, "Hawaiian Night" is one of those concepts that is either going to land big-time or fall flat on its face. There's no middle ground when you're forcing the caucasian waitstaff to don hawaiian shirts and wear leis and the piano player is pounding out Tiny Bubbles and I Wanna Go Back to My Little Grass Shack from [somewhere]. This is an evening that is guaranteed to either be a blast or one of those experiences where you keep checking your watch while kicking yourself for not being at Pizza Hut trying that new Stuffed Crust "Gold."
Rick's was awesome all the way around. The bar is outstanding, tended by a guy who really knows how to make you feel welcome. Damn tasty Pina Coladas help set the Island tone for the night. The regular menu of comfort food standards is replaced on Luau Night by a choice of Hawaiian specials -- either the luau platter (Beef Jerky, Lomi Lomi, Kalua Pig, Poi, etc) or an a la Carte selection of most of the above. Our table order two a la Carte orders and one platter.
The portions are Mauna Loa-esque, in size. Just enormous. I'll be eating Kalua Pig for days. You could bathe a small bird in the bowl of Poi, it was so big. But it's not just the quantity, but the quality. Everything was really outstanding. Proof of this is the number of actual hawaiians who were at the restaurant that night and who told us they were regulars. One older woman even broke into song during the piano player's rendition of of some old-time hawaiian folk song. The whole restaurant went silent and she belted out some tune for about 5 minutes. You don't get this stuff at Masas.
Portions were huge. Quality was great. Prices are reasonable. Three people had a huge mange, including salads and a pina colada each for $90, with tip. That's a great deal when you throw in the fun of "hawaiian night." I heartily recommend you guys checking this place out come a future first Monday. Call for reservations as the place gets crowded for Luau night.