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There’s a New L&L in Iwilei

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Iwilei – Fried Mahi Mahi plate, $6.95


A new L&L “Hawaiian Barbecue” restaurant recently opened in the business area surrounding the bustling Costco membership megamarket anchor tenant in Iwilei, adjacent to Dole Cannery.

I must admit to having a bitter, jaded taste about L&L after trying several newer locations around town over the years recently and finding their food mostly generic and lacking in character. Part of the problem is that most of them use a flat top griddle (basically a frying “pan”) to cook their food vs. an open-flame gas grill, which essentially makes their claim “Hawaiian Barbecue” almost a heresy.

But it can’t be that bad, right? Many rave about them, and surely each franchisee puts their own twist – if not slight – on what they serve. At least we hope. So what the heck, we decided to try this new one that recently opened by the Iwilei Costco.

Here’s Iwilei Costco…

Just east across the parking lot from this vantage point is L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, next to Quiznos Sub and Hawaiian Furniture & Lamp Company…

L&L will be holding a “Green Corned Beef Musubi Eating Contest” at Kahala Mall on March 15, 2008…

They were asking customers to enter. I never got around to find out what exactly is a “Green Corned Beef”. What the?

Here’s the front counter and menu board…

The place was certainly well-staffed, indicating they’re very busy. When we arrived this past Friday just before noon, they were steady, but no lines.

So what to order? Let’s look!

All I can say is goodbye to the $5 plate lunch. Market prices at restaurants, not only here at L&L, but all across the island have risen considerably over the past few years, thanks to inflated real estate and energy costs.

Diner “A”decided to go with the fried Mahi Mahi plate…

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Iwilei – Fried Mahi Mahi plate, $6.95

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Iwilei – Fried Mahi Mahi plate, cross cut

Diner “A” gave me a piece to try and, I must say, this was ono! Uh no, it’s Mahimahi, but it’s ono! Very moist and tender, while the batter was delicately-crunchy and nicely seasoned. The simplified tartar sauce served with it had a nice twang-slash-tang to it. I’d like to order this next time, substituting the rice for fries to make for one great, value-priced fish ‘n chips!

What’s with the fish? The first thing that comes to mind when you mention L&L Drive Inn is massive servings of beef and chicken, right?

Well like Diner “A”, I’m watching my “girlish figure” (lol!), so I too chose fish and went with the “Healthier Choice” Garlic Ahi…

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Iwilei – “Healthier Choice” Garlic Ahi plate, $6.50

As you see, it’s a steak-cut piece of Ahi, simply sautéed with finely chopped garlic, salt and pepper. It’s served over a basic tossed green salad, brown rice and kidney beans; the last one I didn’t expect, as it’s not listed or pictured on the menu.

There certainly was an abundant amount of greens in this plate…

So much so, that they gave me two packets of Italian dressing. And it needed it. The only gripe was that the kidney beans tasted like (actually, I’m pretty sure) it came straight out of a can, with no seasoning or further preparation whatsoever. So I’m guess it was intended to be incorporated into the salad, which is what I did. That worked.

The Garlic Ahi was a bit overcooked for my taste, but otherwise flavorful thanks to the garlic seasoning.

As a whole, for $6.50, a satisfying and filling meal.

While this new L&L location isn’t any redemption of my gripes mentioned earlier, it does fit well within the area with what it has to offer.

So next time a $1.50 hot dog and drink at Costco doesn’t quite cut it, meat, rice and more are just a few parking stalls away.

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One thought on “There’s a New L&L in Iwilei

  • February 27, 2008 at 3:39 am

    I LOVE L&L!
    they actually opened a chain near my area in Socal and I eat there ALL the time. I’ve tried everything on the menu and my fav’s are definitely everything that include their chicken katsu! yum yum . they always turn out perfectly crispy and juicy inside! (i wonder how they do it) … You guys actually hav a lot more fish plate varieties ! :( share the love!!!


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