Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ohana Hawaiian Cafe

Ohana Hawaiian Cafe is located on NE Sandy Blvd. in Portland, Oregon.

Look closely by the woman in the orange shirt.
Shave ice syrup and a shave ice machine! WIN!

I learned that their female server/cashier is from Hilo, and the owners are from Mililani. Immediately, I had confidence that any food I ordered here would be authentic -- made by people from Hawaii. The server/cashier sold me on both the kalua pig and the teriyaki chicken, so I got their Waimea combo plate.

I am home.
Yes, yes, a million times yes. From first glance at the food, I was transported back home.

The macaroni salad had that peppery bite missing in virtually all the other mac salads I've tried in Oregon. It had the right amount of mayonnaise-to-elbow macaroni ratio. The shredded carrot is something found in traditional Hawaiian mac salads. It gave a nice color contrast to the dish as well.

The kalua pig was immaculate. It had a lot of moisture, and I love that the chef topped the portion with some cabbage. Being from the islands, kalua pig and cabbage is a classic dish, and this was done extremely well here. Easily the best I've had in Oregon.

And if that wasn't enough, the teriyaki chicken stole the show. The teriyaki sauce has such beautiful color and consistency. It's not a glaze, but it's not watery, either. Lots of great flavor in this one. The chicken was cooked very well, still retaining a bit of moisture. Also easily the best I've had in Oregon.

The rice? Yeah, that was great too, definitely reminded me of the rice I ate in Hawaii. But hey, you really can't mess rice up, right?

I do wish I got a larger portion of food for the $10.50 I paid. I ate my meal in about three minutes (I just sold my server I was very hungry). But frankly, it's still a reasonable price, and this place is an absolute winner. This is what happens when you have people from Hawaii cooking authentic Hawaiian plate lunches. I would easily take my family here.

The service was not the best I've ever had, but it wasn't the worst. Only two other tables were occupied at the time I came in, so perhaps a little more attention on the patrons would be nice instead of disappearing to the back. It's me nitpicking again, but I've just had better service at other places, and it still plays a factor in my score, so there.

It's places like Ohana Hawaiian Cafe that make me not miss Hawaii too much. Getting the real deal in another state is hard to come by. Ohana Hawaiian Cafe pulled it off. If a Hawaiian cafe (not in Hawaii) serves Hawaiian food and can transport me back home to the islands when eating it, it deserves an outstanding score. You want Hawaiian food in Oregon? You go here. 9.5/10

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