Wednesday, December 17, 2003

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue:Restaurant

I've been dreaming of going to Hawaii for months now. The beach, the ocean, the gentle breezes and swaying palms. Pure relaxation. But somehow it wasn't meant to be. Work got in the way then procrastination and suddenly Hawaii was no longer an option, not this year anyway. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that one of my favorite Hawaiian dining institutions had set up an outpost in the Bay Area.

What Hawaiians call "drive-inns" are not what you and I think of as drive-inns they are really Hawaii's idea of fast food outlets often found in strip malls without any "drive-inn" service at all. They feature inexpensive "plate lunches" that consist of a scoop or two of rice, macaroni salad, and any one of a number of island specialties like chicken katsu, Hawaiian BBQ short ribs, fried mahi mahi or BBQ chicken. As specials you will also see Hawaiian local dishes like kahlua pork and lau lau. These entrees are all a mix of the island cultures themselves--Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Philippine food. They are also absolutely delicious.

L&L Drive Inn and L&L Hawaiian BBQ are ubiquitous in the islands. To avoid confusing the mainlanders, L&L has named some of their newer outlets "L&L Hawaiian Barbecue" but the concept is the same. There are over 50 of them there and they are rapidly expanding on the mainland as well. The food is fresh, the staff is all imported from the islands, and from the moment you walk into the Daly City branch you'll feel like you're back in Hawaii again. You've got to love a place whose motto is "No shirt or shoes required!" You can read copies of Hawaiian newspapers, drink a Hawaiian Sun beverage and listen to Hawaiian music in a clean bright yellow restaurant while you enjoy your lunch or dinner. This is what island style is all about. I particularly recommend the mahi mahi mini plate which includes the rice and macaroni salad and at $4.50 makes a bargain lunch. L&L also offers catering which means huge tin foil trays of their specialties that in Hawaii you see the locals taking to the beach for picnics. But in the chill of winter, you might want to just take it home instead.

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue
Mission Plaza Shopping Center
6893 Mission St
Daly City
Open daily 11-10