An unexpected beachside eateryDigest Now Plating
August 11, 2015
Story By: Lynsey Beth Futa | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
Opened a little more than a month ago, with plans to launch a second beach park location soon, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue at Ala Moana Beach Park is ready to cater to hungry vacationers and locals.
And, after a day at the beach, complete with basking in the hot Hawaiian sun and wading in crystal clear waters, you’re sure to be famished. The convenience of L&L’s new location — the historic concession stand near Magic Island — truly has been a blessing to beach-goers this summer, as the business dishes out plates packed with local and Asian-inspired cuisine perfect for the after-beach munchies, picnic barbecues and family parties.
Manager Jessica Chen cheerfully chats with customers enjoying their food in the outdoor seating area. While the concession stand’s covering provides refuge from the heat, the food seems to give new life to starving patrons. And that’s what Chen and her husband Wesley Wu are trying to accomplish at this location, providing good food and service to all who visit the well-known beach park. The duo, who used to reside in Kona, goes so far as to sell bags of ice ($2.99 each) and offer catering services for beach barbecues and picnics.
Not only are their services unique, but their food also is special, as Chen cooks up dishes not available at other L&L locations. Salt and Pepper Pork Chop ($8.99) includes six to seven pieces, lightly breaded and stir-fried with jalapeno peppers, onions and garlic. Oxtail Soup ($11.99) also is an item only found at the new L&L location. As Chen explains, “We make our own oxtail soup, with real oxtail, peanuts, chinese cabbage, shiitake mushrooms and grated ginger on the side.” It’s a dish you wouldn’t expect from a beachside food stand, but that also has become its appeal, as it continues to be a fan-favorite. “It’s the original style and recipe,” Chen adds, something all those who’ve grown up eating oxtail soup love to hear.
Looking for the staple menu that L&L is famous for? The Ala Moana Beach location has that, too.
Lau Lau Combo ($10.99) weighs in at a hefty mass with Keoki’s Lau Lau and a heaping portion of kalua pork and cabbage. Don’t forget that all plates come with two scoops of rice (brown rice also available at no extra charge) and your choice of mac or tossed salad. And, if you can’t make up your mind, order Seafood Combo ($10.99), which gives you breaded panko shrimp (three pieces), fried Mahi Mahi (two pieces) and your choice of meat (the short ribs always please). It truly is the best of both land and sea.
Other popular L&L items include choices from the Healthy Plates section of the menu, which also made its way over to the new location. Enter Garlic Shrimp ($9.99). This plate lunch starts with a bed of tossed green salad, then a scoop of brown rice and a mound of lightly breaded and fried shrimp, sautéed in garlic and butter. Customers will be glad to know that you can order this dish with the shrimp shells on or off. “Plus, the calorie count is only 273!” Chen exclaims, as even she can’t believe that something so sinfully delicious can be a healthy option.
And, although summer is almost over, island weather allows for the perfect beach day, every day. The next time you’re at Magic Island or Ala Moana Beach, make L&L Hawaiian Barbecue your after-beach stop for fare that always will satisfy and may even surprise you.
L&L HAWAIIAN BARBECUE
WHERE Ala Moana Beach Park 1201 Ala Moana Blvd. (In the concession stand across from the Magic Island parking lot)
HOURS Daily, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.