My eating club went to Hawaii BBQ for dinner this week. I had been here for lunch one day and was thrilled to show it to more people. It is on Olive in China Town (just east of 170). They have a large hand-painted sign outside that advertises the restaurant. The inside is a decrepit formica floor, inexpensive tables and a huge stack of Hawaii magazines. The meals are described by rather unattractive photos hanging in the window. Here's a tip - if you aren't a profession food photographer, Don't Do It. Even the most delicious meal can come out looking like something out of a cheap horror flick. Food is served on or in styrofoam plates/containers.
Regardless, we persevered. One of us had the mixed plate - hamburger steak, terriaki beef steak and a choice of curry, stew or chili. Chili was recommended and chosen. It was not good. It had lots of green pepper and onions and beans and a viscous sweet sauce. Blech. But the thin burger and teri steak were very nice. Would have been better to choose curry. Who knew? Also ordered was the seafood combo. This included mahi mahi, fried strimp and a choice of teri steak, bbq chicken or bbq short ribs. Teri steak was chosen. This meal was served atop a plain bed of shredded cabbage, which could have used a sauce or vineagrette. The shrimp were tasty but curiously pounded flat and over-breaded. Disappointingly, the mahi mahi was sliced VERY thin and was tasteless. The third entree was Mahi Mahi in Garlic Sauce, which absolutely reeked of garlic. This flavor was strong in the dish, but it could have used sauce, and, again, the fish was tasteless. The restaurant was saved by the BBQ chicken, a fourth entree. Thin slices of chicken, probably pounded flat, were perfectly grilled and tasted sweet and good. I would go back just to taste this. All the meals were served with a scoop of macaroni salad and at least one scoop of rice. Opinions on the macaroni were mixed. The rice was good. Also ordered was the crab rangoon, which was served hot on a bed of shredded cabbage with sweet red sauce. It was average. Drinks here are limited to soda and water. If you go here, try a teri burger or a bbq chicken. The big plus to this restaurant are the really cheap prices - a burger is only $1.15. The combos are a little more - $5.55 - $7.00. All in all, I would recommend this place to a really adventurous eater, with cautions to avoid the mahi mahi and the chili.