Eats - Hawaiian
A Touch of
Aloha (may have CLOSED according to a visitor)
148 N. Milpitas Blvd.
Milpitas, CA 95035
I'm an amateur when it comes to "Hawaiian" food, an all-American melange of Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Philipino, Portuguese, and Spam. I love the quirky mix of foods you get with a plate lunch. A Touch of Aloha has the usual suspectskalua pig, chicken teriyaki, chicken long riceplus a counter full of desserts and salads. The entire experience has the feeling of a buffet dinner at a family get together: not fancy, but satisfying. The
decor is like any diner, although they do have a fascinating mix of stuff up on the walls.
230 Jackson Street (between 5th and 6th Streets in Japantown)
San Jose, CA 95112
The second outpost of Hukilau, the other being in San Francisco on Masonic. We chanced on this place becausein a throwback to the 50sthere are two tiki torches burning out front. The Spam musubi were great and cheap ($2) and my entree (around $9), three huge teriyaki spareribs, were nicely cooked although a bit bland. My friend's broiled mahi mahi was okay. Sides were two scoops of short-grained rice, one scoop of macaroni salad, and a thin layer of sesame-oil flavored noodles. The wooden serving plates are a weird touch. Service is good, although they insist on all yelling "Aloha" whenever someone walks in. The layout up front is maybe 8-9 tables, casual, with really bad lighting; it looks like they haven't had time to remodel from the previous occupant, but it looks like there's a larger, nicer room in the back. 04/03
NEW - The Island Grill (inside
the Clarion Hotel)
1355 N 4th St
San Jose, CA 95112
This is definitely not your typical hotel
restaurant. The food here is pretty amazing, although they
do still charge hotel prices. The menu is inventive without
being ostentatious, and offers slightly
updated Hawaiian standards (kalua pig), Indian snacks, and
standard Continental fare with style. I have to say that every
time I eat here, I wonder why all restaurants can't fix their
deep fryers, because when done right the results are fantastic.
We had tuna carpacio (I'd skip this one), beef
somoza (very nice), lamb cutlets (these were fantastic on
this visit), and smashed island chicken (also quite good).
We rounded everything off with an apple tart, creme brulee,
an exotic bamba, and coffee. Total before tip $106.35 for
four big eaters. April 9, 2008
Update May 2, 2008: We return
and start with a few cocktails, then start with the beef
somozas, islands drums (skip this one), kuma beef roll
(get this one), ceasar salad, prime ribs, kalua pork with
coconut rice (nicely done), a breeze salad with grilled
chicken for appetizers and entrees. We ended with forever
mousse (skip), an apple tart (good), and a mango ripieno
which was really fun to eat and tasted great. Before tip
$153.23, which is still pretty reasonable for five people
Update Nov 11, 2008:
I had the lamb on this trip and was slghtly disappointed
compared to my first visit four months ago. Everything
else was top notch. FYI: Don't order the soup; it's good,
but pricey for the portion. $99.75 before tip for three
L&L Hawaiian Barbeque
San Jose Market Center
579 Coleman Ave., #D (to the left of PetSmart)
San Jose, CA 95110
As with most Hawaiian restaurants, this fast food import from
Hawaii serves enormous (and I mean enormous) portions. We easily
made three meals out of one $8 combo dinner (lau lau and kalua
pig). The lau lau were quite salty, which is okay given that
you eat it with the taro wrapper and rice. The kalua pig was
a bit dry. But then, what do you want from a fast food joint?
We'll probably be back soon since this place is about 1/8 of
a mile from my favorite gay bar, Renegades.
You may also be
interested in visiting Andoh in Sunnyvale, which serves Hawaiian-influenced Japanese food.