Diving Into The HolidaysOno, You Know
November 11, 2018
Story By: Ellise Kakazu | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
The holiday season is the happiest yet craziest time of the year, as it comes with stressful tasks such as hosting parties and scouring crowded malls for perfect gifts.
So before the season officially kicks off on Thanksgiving, I plan on soaking in some rays and hitting the beach to enjoy “the calm before the storm.” I welcome you to do the same, so we can relax and be in good aloha spirits!
I hope to visit all my favorite sandy spots in the coming weeks and being the food-obsessed person that I am, I cannot help but daydream about the post-beach plate lunches I will dive into after some fun in the sun.
While there are many tasty options in the sea of plate lunch possibilities, juicy short ribs is a selection that has been hitting the spot since I was a bright-eyed keiki picking opihi off ocean-kissed rocks.
Short ribs can be found at many island eateries, but I know a couple of places that make some of the best.
Let’s go catch some flavor waves!
Washing ashore many local classics such as chicken katsu, loco moco, barbecue chicken and beef stew, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is a plate lunch lover’s paradise.
Thankfully L&L has numerous locations throughout the state and globe — there are about 200 locations worldwide — which means virtually anyone can enjoy a blissful meal.
On a recent Ono trip, I dropped into L&L’s newly revamped Kahala location on Kilauea Avenue and ordered BBQ Short Ribs ($12.95 regular, $9.50 mini).
According to manager Tim Pang, the ribs are coated in a marinade similar to a teriyaki sauce for about six to 10 hours before hitting the grill.
Hot and tasty, the hearty strips of short ribs are placed in a white foam plate along with two scoops of rice (white or brown) and one scoop of either tossed or macaroni salad.
If beach days get you extra hungry, then I highly recommend trying L&L’s BBQ Mix combo ($12.95), as it comes with the delicious BBQ Short Ribs, BBQ Chicken and Teri Steak. Pang notes this packed plate is one of the restaurant’s top sellers along with its iconic Chicken Katsu.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE
After a dip in the Pacific Ocean, make your way down to Kau Kau Grill on Mapunapuna Street.
The locally owned and operated eatery dishes out some of the most onolicious plate lunches on Oahu. Whether you are craving garlic shrimp, smoked meat, poke, fried saimin or short ribs, Kau Kau Grill has got it all under one roof.
With many great choices up for grabs, it can be quite hard to pick just one plate. So if you are visiting for the first time, co-owner Miles Oyasato suggests trying BBQ Baby Back Ribs or Pulehu Beef Short Ribs ($12 regular, $9 mini), as both are hits among customers.
According to Oyasato, Pulehu Beef Short Ribs are seasoned with Hawaiian salt and pepper, then grilled. Once the ribs reach the perfect color, they are cut into bite-sized pieces, making it easy for diners to enjoy.
“It’s a simple item that we like to eat,” he says. “(It’s) our take on steak.”
The concept “less is more” is applied to many of the restaurant’s items, as the quality of meat, chicken and seafood shines through each dish without too much added frills overpowering the protein. “The food will speak for itself,” says Oyasato. But the notion doesn’t apply to Kau Kau’s portions — each plate is packed to the brim and comes with a generous helping of one’s entree choice, spaghetti noodles mac or tossed salad, and rice.
There’s a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks leading up to the new year, but let’s all remember to take a moment to relax and enjoy the ride.