Goodness gracious, how time keeps a’ flyin’, as it seems just yesterday I said, “Today we celebrate another birthday for she or he at this place or that.” Yet indeed it is, as here I am saying that today we celebrate another birthday; this time once again for Diner C, where on this occasion we check out Lobster King, located at the foot of Makiki, on the corner of King and Keeaumoku, a.k.a. “Koreamoku” Street.
Perhaps like some of you, how often I’ve driven past this place on my way home from work, always wondering what the deal was here with their screamin’ loud “$10.99 Lobster” window sign out front — as well as what the restaurant in general was all about — and now I finally got a chance to cure that curiosity.
Lobster King’s decor is moderately elegant in your typical Chinese restaurant appointments, where with, come to find out by our server, the owners are made up of a husband and wife team whom the Mrs. is Korean and Mr., Chinese.
That said, the cuisine featured on the menu here at Lobster King is predominantly Chinese in the Cantonese and Szechuan styles, while there’s also a twist of Japanese Shabu Shabu thrown in for good measure….
You’d think this window would display a live lobster tank, but NOOOO, it’s Roast Peking Duck..
In fact, there wasn’t a lobster tank to be found visible from anywhere within the dining area.
Not to fret, as after going over the menu with our server, she recommended for our party of four that, instead of each ordering a 1 lb. Lobster, we all share one massive three-pounder, noting that the larger lobster yields more net meat per pound than the individual 1-pounders, collectively. Hence essentially more bang-for-the-lobster-buck.
Demonstrating that, she brought out this MASSIVE live 3 lb. “catch”, which we all unanimously decided would soon become our lunch for the day…
We noticed that they like to “play” with their live lobsters here, encouraging the guests to hold it for photo ops, and overall going over the live lobster that they’ve chosen for you in a tangible, interactive way as part of the dining experience. Very cool. Well, not for the lobster, but for the diners. lol Actually, “not cool” for Diner A either, as when our server held up that massive three-pounder at our tableside, the lobster peed on him. Well not really urinated, but shot a stream of “lobster juice” from its mouth right on Diner A’s arm. Eee-uew. Ha-ha-ha!
Right now Mr. 3 Lb. Lobster’s probably thinking, “One more photo and I’m gonna’ pee on you too, Diner P”. lol
Speaking of cleanliness, the first dish to land on the table may look like some kind of dipping sauce, but it’s actually their house tea mixed with lemon juice, which is meant to wash your hands in after everyone’s done makin’ a crustacean-shelled mess of themselves….
Right after that, the potable version of that, hot Chinese Black Tea arrives…
Sticking with the tried and true, first order to land on our table is the Honey-Walnut Stir-Fried Shrimp…
Next, you know da’ rulez: gotta’ get rice…
And of course, the star, da’ “King”..
That’s the whole 3 lb. lobster, cut up into individual portion, somewhat “easy-to-eat” sections, where even the tail was cut into quarters (all with shell on).
Oyster Sauce Chicken over a bed of Cake Noodles….
There you see on this first-time visit, we pretty much went with what we’re all familiar with, not being adventurous in ordering any exotic-sounding temptations listed such as “Deep-Fried Pigeon”, “Goose Intestine”, “Steamed Frog”, “Stir-Fried Sea Cucumber” or “Lady Clam”, or get a load of this one, “Jellyfish Pig Fore Shank BBQ Platter”. Whoah! Andrew Zimmern, we’ve found another restaurant for you if you happen to bring Bizarre Food here to Hawaii once again.
So how is it? Winnahz! Everything was fantastic, really.
Lobster King’s Honey-Walnut Shrimp was delicate and silky-light as ever, giving Little Village’s take on it a run for the money…
While I’m not exactly a chicken fan, preferring beef with my cake noodle, it was never-the-less super moist ‘n tender and deeply flavored with that savory oyster sauce “gravy” coating it. The uniquely “Pake Hawaiian” cake noodle bed the richly-coated chicken strips rested on was prepared just like it should, with a sort of crusty bottom, and a glutenous, integrated texture of the “eggy” chow mein noodle “meat” of it, all fully absorbed with the delicious “umamified” Oyster sauce gravy…
As for the Black Bean Lobster, “O.M.G.” AMAZING. Broke da’ mout’ winnah, winnah lobster dinner. Err, lunch that is. Black Bean sauce is certainly one of my favorite flavors offered in Chinese cuisine, where Guy Fieri’s famous, “I could eat that off a FLIP-FLOP!” tagline certainly applies here. You get that salty, earthy, robust, deep, meaty, “umami” flavor of the black bean sauce that coats the full-bodied, somewhat “fatty” flavor of the super moist ‘n succulent lobster meat, and KUNG-POWWW! BAMMM! Or whatever exclamation of your choice, Lobster King’s Black Bean Lobster simply ROCKS (chime in the B-52’s now).
Like most Chinese restaurants, Lobster King’s menu is so lengthy and extensive, that you’d probably have to eat here at least once a week for an entire year or more in order to say you tried EVERYTHING on it. there’s certainly a few other dishes I’m eager to return here to try, such as the Live Garlic Abalone, Live Lobster Sashimi, as well as any preparation they have using Sea Cucumber and Jellyfish; the latter two of which I’ve never had before.
Service was friendly, attentive and quick, with our entire order landing on the table within ten minutes of being placed. Ambiance is clean, cozy and comfortable, with a quiet sound level, which I personally always appreciate. There’s ample parking right on the premises, which is also a major plus. Best of all, it’s a great value, especially for larger parties, making this a good choice for the office gang or the gang at home.
Based on our first-time experience – especially with the Black Bean Lobster — Lobster King is highly recommended.
1380 South King Street (on the Ewa-Mauka corner of “Koreamoku”)
Honolulu, HI 96814
Tel. (808) 944-8288
The Tasty Island rating:
(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)
P.S. Check out this 7.5 POUND, 3 FT. LONG LOBSTER reader KenW eMailed me!…
Ken, while the glass of wine and serving utensils are a good “in situ” touch to give it a sense of scale, it would have been great if you had a tape measure laid out so that we could see the size in cold hard fact numbers!
I’m surprised after it was cooked that it turned red, and not Incredible Hulk-colored GREEN! “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” lol
According to Ken, this 7.5 lb. 3 ft. long “LOBMONSTER” was their Friday night dinner one lucky (or frightful?) night back when he lived in New England.
That’s beast, man, totally beast.