Continuing in our effort to populate the list of lunch wagons visited by the Tasty Island, this past week we checked out da’ grindz at Ali’i Grill Lunch Wagon in front of Eki Cyclery.
We discovered they had a lunch wagon while searching online for information about Ali’i Grill, a restaurant in downtown on Bishop street which reader Spotty highly recommended in the People’s Cafe post.
Interestingly, this wagon roves from one location to another throughout the morning, finishing its route for the peak lunch hour rush in front of Eki Cyclery on Dillingham boulevard. Here’s their daily schedule…
Alii Grill Wagon Location:
9 am to 9:20 am
at 1370 N King
9:40 am to 9:22 am
at 800 Ala Moana
on backside on Auahi St.
10 am to 10:15 am
at 777 Ala Moana Blvd
on the Koula St. side
10:20 am to 10:45 am
at 919 Ala Moana
corner of Ward and Ala Moana
11:15 am to 1 pm
at 1603 Dilingham
Wow, they don’t give much of a window of opportunity at each morning time location.
You may recall a while back we visited Tani’s Lunch Wagon, which used to occupy this same spot at Eki Cyclery. Turns out Tani’s sold the wagon to Ali’i Grill, so the wagon you see here is the same one Tani’s had, just renamed under new ownership.
So let’s check out what’s on the menu for the day…
What I love about a menu like this with just a few selections is it’s so much easier to decide what to order. Whew.
Here’s the Banana Bread, which is sourced from Wally Ho’s Garage & Grill in Aiea…
Diner E decided to try the baked chicken, although what he didn’t expect is that this baked chicken is served with White – not brown- gravy…
Since Diner E passed on his usual Hamburger Steak “gauge plate”, Diner A jumped at the opportunity and ordered it…
Finally, yours truly continues to struggle maintaining his “girlish figure”, and wanted to try the ‘Ali’i Grill Salad’, which is made with Romaine lettuce and a spring mix, topped with grilled chicken breas, candied walnuts, mandarin oranges and an oriental dressing. But the devil got the best of me and tempted me to get the Roast Pork plate instead…
First and foremost, these regular plates are HUGE. There’s easily enough on my roast pork plate to feed two hungry adults, which it ended up being two separate meals for me, being able to only finish half of it in one sitting.
The gravy was good, but not as “brown” in depth and character as I had hoped. It almost tasted like packaged Turkey gravy, which I have no complaints with, as I like that stuff. Hence it almost made it seem as though I was eating turkey and gravy, except with a porky twist. Throw in some cranberry sauce, candied yams and stuffing and I’d have a complete Thanksgiving meal!
The pork was very moist, flavorful and tender, except my only preference is that they cut it in thin slices (like turkey; go figure) versus how they cut it here in large, almost bigger-than-bite-size cubes.
Their mac salad was ono. Cool, creamy, simple and seasoned just right. Diner E and A noted that the macaroni noodles were slightly undercooked and a bit on the firm side, but I like it like that. Much better than soggy. And you gotta’ love when da’ brown gravy blends in at the bottom like this…
Tani’s roast pork plate was almost a striking resemblance to the superior roast pork from the late Kanda “Kewalo” lunch wagon, and I was hoping Alii ‘Grill used the same recipe Tani’s had, but apparently not. Yet it’s still decent and worthy of a 3 SPAM Musubi rating.
Diner A wasn’t “wowed” by his hamburger steak plate, mainly because he also felt the gravy didn’t have enough depth. Although he did say the hand-formed beef patties were seasoned nicely and overall had good flavor and moisture…
With that, he gives his Hamburger Steak plate 2 SPAM Musubi.
Diner E was originally turned off by being surprised to get white gravy (which they don’t specify on the menu), but ended up really enjoying it. The baked chicken beneath was very moist, tender and flavorful…
Again, part of the comfort food goodness is having the white gravy kiss the mac salad…
That said, Diner “Simon Kaukau” E gave his Roasted Chicken mini plate from Alii Grill 2 SPAM Musubi.
For dessert, Diner A brought some of his wife’s Strawberry Guri-Guri to share. Here he is stirring it up from frozen to get it back to creamy consistency…
Serve it up…
Diner Cy’s home-made strawberry Guri-Guri
Alii Grill Lunch Wagon
Parked in front of Eki Cyclery from 11:15am to 1pm
1603 Dillingham Blvd.
The Tasty Island rating:
(2) Good. I’m glad I tried it. (Ono)