Falling for Grilled Barbecue Goodness

Ali Carte Columns

December 29, 2013

Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

If you’re on your way to Ala Moana Center for some retail therapy or happen to be running last minute errands before New Year’s Eve, be sure to stop by Kau Kau Grill on Kapiolani Boulevard, one of Honolulu’s newest food trucks. You can’t miss the vehicle’s distinct white facade adorned with endless love notes written by satisfied customers. They’re love letters to the food, of course, as countless patrons have fallen head over heels for Kau Kau’s assortment of freshly grilled plate lunches.

“Everybody’s surprised that we’ve only been around since April because they eat our food and they like it,” says Miles Oyasato, who opened the truck with business partner Ty Takishita. “What me and my partner told each other was, ‘If we’re not gonna eat it, why would we serve it?'”

That means only the freshest, highest quality ingredients go into each take-out box and details such as homemade sauces and original recipes give the menu a comforting feel.

You’ll know you’re in for a good meal the moment you get a whiff of Kau Kau Grill’s smoky barbecue sauce, the aroma of which swirls about the food truck and draws in watering mouths one after the other.

Oyasato and Takishita generously slather the sauce over their Barbecue Baby Back Ribs ($12) plate, which is the truck’s best-seller. With a perfectly balanced trio of tangy, sweet and savory flavors, the sauce highlights wonderfully juicy ribs that are so tender they fall off the bone.

“You can get away with using chopsticks to eat our ribs,” says Oyasato when describing their tenderness.

Patrons have also fallen for “Ono” Poke Bowl ($8), which features good quality, fresh fish straight from the market that’s highlighted with spicy or shoyu sauces. And each style of poke’s seasoning is an example of the hard work Oyasato puts into his dishes.

“The spicy one is something I worked on for a while,” says Oyasato, who kept experimenting with different flavors until he created a spicy combination he was finally happy with. “It’s not like I mixed it up after one day.”

In addition to ribs and poke, be sure to try Garlic Shrimp ($12), which presents pan-fried seafood prepared with an irresistible olive oil and garlic mixture.

All of Kau Kau Grill’s plates come with a choice of white or brown rice, as well as salad or potato mac salad made with spaghetti noodles. And the truck is currently offering a special for Dining Out readers. Customers receive one free drink with any regular plate purchase (see coupon on Page 27).

While the truck will not be open on Kapiolani Boulevard New Year’s Eve and Day, you can still ring in the new year with Kau Kau Grill at the Eat the Street event Dec. 31 at New Year’s Eve Kakaako Park Party of the Year.

Prices for the aforementioned items are subject to change.

Kau Kau Grill

1637 Kapiolani Blvd., Honolulu
Monday–Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Note: Closed New Year’s Day and Eve, but will be at Kakaako Park Party of the Year New Year’s Eve.

Honolulu, HI 96814

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