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Ohana Hawaiian BBQ Opens in Alameda

Ohana Hawaiian BBQ recently opened in the re-born Bridgeside (Blanding) Shopping
Center, and, having tried their Kalua Pork and Katsu Chicken offerings, (served forth
in absolutely mammoth portions) the question begs to be asked- given the incredible ubiquity of menus, presentations and tastes of Alameda's three Hawaiian BBQ's-L and L, Hawaiian Drive-Inn and Ohana- do they share a remote, communal kitchen?

Ohana's Kahlua Pork was tender, fat-free and bacony- umami tasting, the cabbage nicely braised and al dente, the rice comfortably bland and clumpy, and the macaroni salad Hawaiian BBQ style over-the-top rich. The Katsu was crispy and greaseless.
IMHO, a good fast-food deal.

You can also get the Katsu drowned in "rich brown gravy" here. Nice.

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  1. Which of the Hawaiian BBQ's in Alameda do you like the best?

    1 Reply
    1. re: rworange

      Well, let's see- The flavors, portions, prices, atmosphere and service at all three are pretty much identical, so I'll have to choose my fave for convenience reasons:

      L and L has ample parking, but doesn't take plastic, although they have an ATM machine-
      Hawaiian BBQ takes plastic, but has horrendous to no parking-
      Ohana takes plastic, has plenty of parking, plus it has that "rich brown gravy"
      thing on the Katsu chicken, Loco Moco and the roast pork, so it wins, IMHO.

    2. Thanks for the report, I'll have to check it out.

      BTW, the island saying goes something like, "local boys don't eat until they're full, they eat until they're tired" which explains the huge portions, it's expected.

      1. Is there indoor seating available, or is this place strictly takeout? Thanks.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Cindy

          Yes- All three Alameda Hawaiian BBQs have ample indoor seating, even though a
          sizeable (horrible pun intended) number of their well-fed, big-eating clientele may take up
          unusually large amounts of space.

        2. Went here today for lunch. Lots of parking - many of the storefronts in the mall haven't been leased yet (when you drive into the parking lot, drive away from Nob Hill grocery store).

          I must have caught them on an off-day - I ordered a combo of Katsu chicken and Kahlua pork (my 2nd choice - I wanted the roast pork but they don't offer that as a combo). The chicken was very good, as was the mac salad. The Kalua pork wasn't so good; salty and dry. I would definitely go back, though. Thanks!

          1. I beg to differ. We just went to the Santa Rosa Ohana a couple of days ago, and it was so godawful, we ended up taking 80%+ of it back to the counter a getting a refund. We both had dishes with the "barbequed chicken", which was simply marinated in a soy teriyaki sauce, then totally over-cooked. As for the macaroni salad, it was poorly cooked bag macaroni smothered in mayo, with no other discernable flavoring. We'll never go to an Ohana agin after that.

            6 Replies
            1. re: cmvan

              Maybe the difference in tastes/experience is due to the location?

              1. re: cmvan

                I would agree that most Hawaiian BBQ fare, no matter where you buy it, has definite
                industrial, mass-produced qualities, which may account for the homogeneous flavors
                one finds at all the various venues. A fan of classic Southern BBQ will be grossly disappointed by most Hawaiian BBQ offerings, especially the short ribs. IMHO, the chicken Katsu, the braised cabbage under the Kahlua pork and the bland.boiled rice are the most consistently edible items on the menu(s).

                1. re: alameda fats

                  The "BBQ" in Hawaiian barbecue is a marketing ploy because nothing is barbecued in the traditional sense. In Hawaii none of these places have barbecue in their names. Instead they use "Drive-in", i.e., L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is known as L&L Drive-in. In this sense it will never match up to Southern BBQ becuase it's something else.

                  What these places are really making is "plate lunch", which is really pan-Asian/Hawaiian diner food or regional cuisine.

                  This isn't the best description but it is accurate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_lunch

                  1. re: ML8000

                    I am glad that you mention this - I am from Hawaii, and I have had arguments with people here on the mainland about how there is no such thing as Hawaiian BBQ. That being said, in Hawaii, the mac salad is always smothered in mayo, and the good stuff usually has tuna fish mixed in it. I haven't tried Ohana BBQ, although I look forward to it. I hope that it is better than L&L, which IMHO, is terrible.

                    1. re: lamlex

                      lamlex - I'd be interested on your take on Ohana. Re: L&L is definitely below average or just bad. They're really in consistent from place to place and even at one place day to day. I've had okay kalua pig at one place and really, really bad stuff at another. The standards between franchises is loose.

                    2. re: ML8000

                      And, many of the ones locally are operated by people from China who have no connection to the islands. Guess it's an alternative to a Panda Express franchise.