Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hokulani's Steakhouse, Keaau, HI

I eat at Hokulani's pretty regularly, not because I like the food, but because other than local and international fast food chains, that's about it. I continue to eat there successfully because I have learned which items on the menu are least offensive. The veggie burger, for example, is a double pattied veggie burger that fills you up, comes frozen from somewhere that knows how to make veggie burgers and requires little more than heating it up. It's nearly impossible to bring up Hokulani's without bringing up what I consider to be the biggest failing of nearly every single restaurant in Hawaii, mac salad. How can you go so wrong? In most cases it's macaroni and mayonaise. In some cases it's potato-mac salad and cooked potatoes are thrown into the mayo. Every once in a while someone will get brave and throw in a little sweet pickle relish. BORING!!! It comes to mind because to me, Hokulani's mac salad is not only boring, it's wretched and I won't eat it. I've tried the onion rings a couple of time and if they are ever forced on me again I'll take them and wring them out and sell the oil to a biofuel company. Whew! They must need to add oil to the fryer after every batch. I tried the steak and forget it. It will only disappoint you. The fish and chips has a fairly nice flavor, with a pretty nice cut of fish in a nice batter, but there is something about it that doesn't agree with me and I start feeling sick after eating the first battered piece of fish. Again, oily oily oily! But, I suppose that is somewhat the nature of fish and chips.

Look, the name builds expectations beyond what it really is. It's not a "steak house" it's a bar that also serves food. It's bar food.

Now some positives. The wait staff have been there a long time and they are very friendly. It has outdoor seating, which in Hawaii is  rare. The restaurant is clean and nicely appointed as a surf-bar. The prices for food are right at what they should be for most items until you start getting up into the steaks. That's when you might start feeling ripped off. Lastly, the burgers aren't too bad. So, a safe bet is a burger and pay the dollar extra to get the baked potato instead of anything that sees the fryer, and you're good to go. Oh, and they generally have nice musicians. If you have to do laundry, you can eat here and do your laundry next door. I know many people that make this a regular habit. Who knew that the laundromat would be a draw for the "steak house?" I guess you're starting to get the picture.

UPDATE: Today I ate the Reuben sandwich and it was served on a marbled rye, and came with a lot of meat and tasted very nice.

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