Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Rate-A-Restaurant #233: King's Hawaiian
Restaurant: King's Hawaiian Restaurant and Bakery
Location: 2808 W. Sepulveda Blvd. (Torrance)
Type of restaurant: Hawaiian/island
We stipulated: The plan was set for Labor Day with my parents: Langer's for pastrami. My mom was excited... until I discovered that Langer's wasn't open. The backup plan: A quick trip back to da islands, via King's Hawaiian in Torrance. It had been years since we were last there.
They stipulated: The wait for a table can be long during busy times. In the meantime, you'll have to wait outside or in the bakery area -- and staring at the guava chiffon cake, chocolate dobash, Napples, malasadas and other treats can be dangerous.
What we ordered: Huli Huli Chicken plate lunch (with rice and macaroni salad) $9.95; Macadamia chicken bowl ($9.95); Teriyaki beef and veggie bowl ($8.95)
High point: The warm, doughy King's Hawaiian rolls are like crack. We didn't want to ruin our appetite, but we couldn't help ourselves. I finally had to keep them away from Evan.
Low point: Oh King's Hawaiian, how you disappoint me. I sometimes think about your shoyu chicken, and how it reminds me of being back in Honolulu, at a coffee shop not unlike the original King's, enjoying a heaping plate of shoyu chicken and rice. It was the dish I ordered at Kings in Torrance without fail. Imagine my huge disappointment to discover it was OFF THE MENU. Kings still offers it -- once a week, on Tuesdays. Boo.
Also, under some bizarre system, Kings forced us to wait and wait as tables kept being handed to folks behind us on the list. All because we had the Blogger Baby 2.0 with us, and they were counting him as a separate seat. Finally we told them, c'mon, we can fit around a smaller table... and they still hesitated. When we made a fuss, they finally sat us down -- but demanded that we not use a high chair. We used a high chair. No one noticed. What a strange, pointless exercise!
Overall impression: King's Hawaiian brings me back to Oahu -- as a matter of fact, a group of friends and I made sure to eat at the original King's Hawaiian Coffee Shop in Honolulu in its final week, before shutting down back in 1991. The Torrance location is much nicer; the original was like a Norm's. But nonetheless, you're slipping, King's. It's much easier to find local kine grindz on the mainland now, as L&L continues to expand. With my fave dish now gone and that whole issue of waiting too long for a table, we left with a bit of a bad taste in our mouth.
Chance we'll go back: That bad taste might be helped out by shoyu chicken... or malasadas. If we go back, it will be on a Tuesday -- not only is it shoyu chicken night, but keikis eat for 99 cents.
-- Written by Mike