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Jun 21, 2006 04:44 PM

My favorite fast food is Wahoo's ...

  • p

Wahoo's is my favorite fast food restaurant, by far.

It almost doesn't qualify as fast food, except that:

1 - It's a chain
2 - You order at a counter and they bring you your food
3 - It's really fast

I always get something with the grilled fish. Just about always, anyway. I prefer the grilled fish to their spicy fish. Their chicken and beef are also really good, but the fish stands out to me. It's fresh and juicy and well-spiced.

Usually I get the grilled fish in one of the banzai dishes. A banzai dish at Wahoo's comes with teriyaki vegetables. So, a banzai bowl comes with a meat (the fish), Japanese rice, and beans. I go back and forth on the beans. The black beans are good, so are the spicier white beans. They'll do a mixture, too.

If I don't get a banzai bowl, I get a banzai burrito. Lately, I've been sort of low-carbing, so I ask for all beans and no rice. A banzai bowl with grilled fish, mixed beans and no rice.

But you don't have to go banzai.

They also have fish tacos that are good (I think Wahoo's is technically called Wahoo's Fish Tacos, but no one I know says anything but Wahoo's). The other bowls are good, just without the teri veggies. They have a kid's menu, where the bowls are the same, just smaller. The banzai bowl is huge, btw.

Did I mention they have cold beer? They do. I usually just ask for the beer of the month, which is a buck-seventy five (just about the same price as a soft drink).

And they usually have a game on (no sound) or surfing videos are playing.

I actually once heard the owners speak at a conference (I was working at a school at the time). The owners are three Chinese American brothers (truth told, I might have the number wrong and I'm only 90% sure they were Chinese ... maybe they are Hawaiian and what does it matter anyway and it's been a while in any case). If I'm off on that, let's just agree it's family owned. And I remember them saying they had enough franchises to live comfortably off. The only reason they continue to open new stores is that they like to reward long time employees with their own stores. The try not to open too many, because they can't control the quality. Only letting long time employees open franchises helps ensure consistency.

See, consistency is the big thing with fast food and chains. I know that Wahoo's doesn't do the best fish tacos in LA, nor the most authentic. I know that I can find better and/or more authentic Mex/Hawaiian or whatever it is ethnically if I look hard enough.

But there is something to be said for consistency. Something to be said for feeling comfortable. Sometimes you do sleep better in a Holiday Inn than in a cool bed and breakfast.

And when the food is fresh and the service really attentive, it's not so bad. In fact, it can be pretty darn good.

When it comes to that sort of fast food, Wahoo's is my favorite.

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  1. j
    JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

    "I know that I can find better and/or more authentic Mex/Hawaiian or whatever it is ethnically if I look hard enough."

    Looking hard enough is what Chowhounds do.


    1 Reply
    1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

      Yes, they do. They also have the good sense to look around where they are (authentic or not) and, if they spot something that looks tasty, they eat it.

      Just watching out for bad fats and high-glycemic stuff is interrupting my gustatory existence badly enough. I really can't be bothered with worrying about the Authenticity Index too.

    2. Good, but a little overrated. It's a bit inconsistent. Sometimes, the fish is dry and the rice is overcooked. Overall, worth repeat visits, but only in a fit of hunger.

      1 Reply
      1. re: biscuit

        I did try it once in OC. . . waste of a meal. Dry fish, bland pork, mediocre salsas.

      2. I eat there a few times a month since there are two near me and occassionally get the cravin'.

        I really like the fish tacos, but only after some of their teriyaki sauce on is inconsistent....the fish is dry.I do like their rice....seems buttered or something.....but its pretty good.

        1. I've been to the one in Burbank twice. First time, got the fish taco platter and was blown away with everything! The fish seemed really fresh, not stinky-fishy, with a good flavor from whatever it is they season it with. Delish sides, fast service..All around great.

          My second trip, same location. About 6 months apart. Same fish taco platter, totally different experience. Fish was old-old-old and stinky. It was all I could do to swallow down a single taco, as to not "waste" anything (mainly my ego/pride/ for thinking it would be as great as the first time). The black beans were just gross my second trip. Maybe they haden't cooked long enough or something.

          I'm not sure if i'd go back to the Burbank shop again. Maybe one of the more coastal ones might have better fish. I'd heard rumors that Wahoo's might be opening up shop here in Las Vegas..That would prove most interesting. I'd definately give it a try.