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L&L Hawaiian BBQ now in Santa Monica

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On the way home from the SM 3rd St. farmers market, I braced myself to pick up something quick and non-chowish for lunch while cruising on Lincoln Blvd (already had too much La Playita and La Isla Bonita lately). I look up on Pico boulevard, and ta da! A new chain of L&L is open in the strip mall next to Tommy's on Pico/Lincoln. It's been open only two weeks.

It's not the greatest Hawaiian bbq ever, but it's solid. One Kalua and lau lau plate later, and I'm a happy girl. (Just how much mayo do they put in the macaroni salad? Yum!) Nice to know that if I need some emergency spam musubi I can now get it on the Westside.

http://foodallergyqueen.blogspot.com

L&L Hawaiian BBQ, Santa Monica
1916 Lincoln Blvd.
310 396 3694
Open 7 days 10a-10p

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  1. Agreed. It does the job. And SPAM musubi is pretty darn difficult to mess up! BTW, love the stuff. Maybe too much.

    http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

    1. I love L&L BBQ. It's great comfort food. I really like their Hawaiian BBQ Beef, but my absolute favorite thing to order is their garlic shrimp. Yum! When I'm in the mood for pork, I get their Kalua Pork and ask them to stir fry the cabbage with it, which cuts down on the pork being a little too salty sometimes. Other items I've ordered and enjoyed are the shrimp curry and the portuguese sausage and egg sandwich. Definitely great stuff!

      Abby
      www.pleasurepalate.com

      1. Another fan here. My fave are the short ribs and musubi.

        They will even substitute rice and macaroni for a couple of over-easy eggs (if you're on the Atkins diet), but it's realllllly hard to give up the macaroni salad.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ml22

          Some of the L&L's have a special low carb platter...no mac or rice. Ever since I got off of Atkins I go for all mac salad and no rice. They got good macaroni salad. Now I think I got to get back carbs.

        2. i am kinda saddened when i came back form hawaii 2 days ago, and i went to the L&L in pasadena, and i am sad it was just blah. sort of $$ yeah?

          8 Replies
          1. re: caitybirdie

            i dunno but, imo, L&L is pretty cheap when it comes to hawaiian food. two people can fill up for roughly $15-18. =)

            that said, L&L is great in a pinch if you are close by. but i recomment hitting up bruddah's in gardena for great hawaiian food. or if you do not want to leave the westside, then rutt's cafe in culver city is not too shabby.

            1. re: caitybirdie

              "$$"...you mean expensive? How could that be?
              It's Hawaiian comfort food...plate lunches.

              If you went to L&L while you were in Hawaii you'd definitely be disappointed, over there they're not as nice as the ones here.

              You want that kind of plate lunch food, try Ono Hawaiian BBQ in Alhambra...practically across the street from Lee's Sandwiches.

              1. re: monku

                thats where lee's sammies are?!?!?!?!? YAY!!!! thanks

                1. re: caitybirdie

                  Lee's Sandwiches is a chain... there's 12 stores in Socal alone -- 4 in Westminster, 1 in Irvine, 1 in Rosemead, 2 in Garden Grove, 1 in Fullerton, 1 in Artesia, 1 in Fountain Valley, and 1 in Alhambra.

                  http://www.leessandwiches.com

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Is the one in Rosemead open now?

                    1. re: monku

                      I believe so... it looked like it last I checked. That said, catch me eating at Lee's Sandwiches when Banh Mi Che Cali is open, so I didn't actually investigate fully.

              2. re: caitybirdie

                I might not be qualified to weigh in on this, as I've only had a chicken bowl at L&L, but I'm also in the "blah" camp. A better choice for me is Aloha Terriyaki in Hawthorne (Rosecrans & Inglewood)

                1. re: Grubber

                  I also think the bbq chicken's not that great. But I don't think that's their forte. I'm a big fan of their egg (spam, portugues sausage) sandwiches. Their kalua pork is good, as is their kalbi and musubi. Basically, as is usually the case, all the unhealthy stuff is great.

              3. L&L is great. Good food at great prices. I usually just get one of their minis and it fills me right up. My only beef is that their kahlua pork contains too much cabbage filler. Any cabbage filler is too much cabbage filler. Although I love cabbage, I don't like it when places pad out their portions with it.

                Another good Hawaiian BBQ chain is the Loft. Quality isn't as high, but the portions are awe inspiring and no cabbage filler in the kahlua pork.

                - Chubbypanda

                http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/

                8 Replies
                1. re: Chubbypanda

                  Today's kalua plate had very little cabbage in it so you would have liked it. I personally prefer more cabbage since I really can't eat much besides the meat (I picked at the mac salad even though I'm allergic to wheat). Today's version was a little drier than the one I used to get at the L&L in Thousand Oaks, but hey, it is a chain and results may vary.

                  I've also been to Rutts and Lahaina Loft (which is now just Loft?). So I can do easy comparisons between Rutts and L&L.

                  L&L also has katsu curry which I haven't tried yet. I usually fix that craving with Curry House on Sawtelle, so am tickled that one is so much closer! I could ride my bike even!

                  1. re: Kishari

                    You can tell them no mac salad and ask for more cabbage or rice.

                    The katsu curry is good, the curry tastes like the kind the Curry House uses (made in Japan by House foods), but doesn't have any heat to it. If you can't eat wheat I'm surprised you can eat katsu curry...that's panko(bread crumbs) on the outside and I'm sure the curry sauce has wheat in it too.

                    Taste of Lahina in MHB? If that's the place it was run by people related to The Loft. If its that Hawaiian fried chicken you like...The Locals Place(owned by Kings Hawaiian Bakery) in Gardena on Western and 182nd is much better. I'm not telling you to go to Kings Hawaiian Restaurant on Sepulveda in Torrance...that place is a poor expensive excuse for Hawaiin food.

                    1. re: monku

                      I'm busted. :)

                      Luckily, my allergies aren't life-threatening, they just make me sick. So I just take a bite of the tonkatsu with the panko to get the texture, then scrape the rest off. As for the curry sauce, no one seems to know all the mysterious ingredients (I read somewhere that there are over 20), and you're probably right about wheat in it but again, I just have a little.

                      I think Taste of Lahaina is what I was thinking of, right off the freeway? I just remember plates of heaping food that would choke a horse, and lots of large Hawaiian brahs walking around!

                      http://foodallergyqueen.blogspot.com

                      1. re: Kishari

                        Now I'm curious about the place "right off the freeway" you're talking about. Taste of Lahina isn't that close to the freeway. Curious because it sounds like a place I'd like to go to.

                        Maybe you're a celiac. My friend is and he gets the grilled stuff at L&L. Even soy sauce is made with wheat.

                        BTW: Good blog. Where were you the other day when some CH was longing for "tuna casserole"?

                        1. re: monku

                          I'm a dork. My friend who took me there said it's just called The Loft, which Chubbypanda noted. I could have sworn it had the word Lahaina in it at one point. Oh well, I'll blame it on Alzheimers or something. It's right off the 605 on Pioneer in Lakewood.

                          http://www.thelofthawaiianrestaurant....

                          1. re: Kishari

                            Thanks...its OK. Like I said that place Back Home in Lahaina is related to them, maybe that's what you saw was some advertisement there for them.

                            Hawaiian food craze has been heating up the last couple years with places like L&L, Ono, Ohana and the tried and true which have been around for years like Bruddah's, Bob's, Gardena Bowl, Rhutt's, TNT and I'll give some credit to The Loft.

                            1. re: monku

                              I've been to the Back Home in Lahaina location in Torrance. Fabulous BBQ chicken, but the BBQ beef and chicken katsu were just OK. Priciest plate lunch I've paid for, $15 for the combo plate with the above.

                              Depending on the particular L&L location, I've found that their food can be quite good, especially the BBQ chicken.

                              1. re: Wonginator

                                Related in someway to the owners of The Loft. Try the BBQ chicken at Bruddah's....lots of juicy bbq chicken for like $7.50. You know the place.

                2. I just tried the L&L in oxnard... had the loco moco because it sounded cool. basically hamburger steak with fried eggs on top and gravy poured on top. i was so hungry that i scarfed it down... i guess it was okay.

                  next time, i'll try the kalua pork.

                  1. I just don't like L&L so much... I've had it here, I've had it in Hawaii. I think Ohana in Studio City is better, or Seoul Grindz in Glendale, or the place on Atlantic in Monterey Park, forget the name.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      That's Ohana or if its the place next to Paul's Kitchen its Aloha Cafe.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        I agree with you, Das Ubergeek. Ohana B.B.Q. in Studio City, Ventura at Eureka, is MUCH better than L&L. The meat is clearly superior, and you can ask for complimentary brown rice and kim chee. You can also choose, as I always do, bean sprout salad instead of the macaroni salad. I just happened to eat there tonight!

                        1. re: Dogbite Williams

                          Only Ohana I've been to is in Burbank. Funny thing about the Ohana Hawaiian & Ono Hawaiian chain--I suspect the Ohana chain is run by Koreans(hence the kim chee and their soup-resembling something Korean). The other coincidental thing about both place is that the tables and chairs are exactly the same.

                          1. re: monku

                            The Ohana in Studio City isn't related to the one in Burbank. We've asked.

                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                              My apologies I thought the two Ohana's were part of the same franchise operation.
                              But, when I was at the Burbank location I overheard the owner/operator there talking to someone on the phon in Korean.

                      2. I really like Aloha Food Factory at the north end of the 710 FWY in Alhambra I think. Make a right on Valley Blvd and it's two blocks down on the right hand side.

                        Family owned and run...great Kalua Pork, Lau Lau, Loco Moco BBQ chicken...they got it all.

                        1. sorry im new here...what did you mean by non chowish?

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: tigerhartt

                            Typically, non-chowish means "not note-worthy for the food". You ate it because it was there, and forgot about it five minutes later.

                            1. re: tigerhartt

                              Non-chowish = anti-chowhound. A general term that can vary depending on who's using it. Some Chowhounds consider great food at bargain price to be key. Some are willing to pay anything for great food. Some consider the whole experience (great food, atmosphere, interior, service, location, view, etc.). Many are very anti-chain, but there are exceptions, e.g., In-N-Out, Pinkberry, L&L, Peet's Coffee, etc., but these being chains will emote strong opinions as well. Chowhounds tend to like independently-owned places, ethnic eateries, holes-in-the-wall, new discoveries to share, the not-so-obvious hidden gems.

                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                Also, what he said. :D

                                1. re: SauceSupreme

                                  Always the Sauce-y one!

                                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                                    so if someone is looking for a non chowhound place...they're looking for a not so good experience? why would you do that?

                                    1. re: tigerhartt

                                      Any combination of three things: time, finances and location. Sometimes you're just hungry, running late, broke and/or nothing particularly noteworthy is nearby. So you run into AM/PM, grab a Slim Jim, and promise yourself you'll eat well later.

                                      This is why I pay the extra bucks per month to get internet on my phone -- I can't tell you how many times I've been in an unfamiliar part of town, done a Chowhound search, and come up with roses. This is especially true outside of LA/OC where the pickin' is slimmer.

                              2. I personally don't like L&L. There are much better places you can go to for the same price such as The Loft in Torrance, King's Hawaiian Bakery, or Teri Hawaii (all in Torrance, I believe). They're much more authentic than L&L and taste a whole lot better. King's Hawaiian has their own bakery with DELICIOUS cakes. I recommend the paradise or chocolate dobash cake.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ckim89

                                  Here in the Westside, to get an L&L is like getting an air conditioner in Hilo... it's almost like a luxury given we only have Rutt's for the most part, and since Kenny's closed down years back ( on his own accord), L&L is a much appreciated addition to "da grinds" part of the Westside list...

                                2. Just had some L&L. I actually think I like the short ribs at Rutt's more, but I prefer the Kahlua pork at L&L and the portions at L&L are waaaay more generous. For $8, I get 3 small meals or 2 big meals. It's not on the menu, but at L&L you can also order a "half & half" plate, which is half kahlua pork, half short ribs, which is the exact combo I love.

                                  I'm thrilled to have this option on the westside....