Honu's Island Grinds & Bar, SF Japantown
A number of 'hounds have mentioned Honu's in other Japantown/Hawaiian roundups but I couldn't find any standalone topics.
Two of us ventured in to Honu's last night, lured by the sound of live music wafting out onto the pedestrian plaza on Webster. It's very casual -- flat-screen TVs playing the Giants game on every wall, seat yourself where you please, plasticy but not uncomfortable tables and chairs. No particular island charm, but no fakey island junk either. Service is casual but friendly, food arrived fast and very hot.
The menu is much more extensive than the Hawaiian chain places springing up all over the Bay Area. In addition to the standard plate lunch fare, they offer a couple of vegetarian specials including organic tofu and sauteed vegetables in money sauce (teriyaki, sake, and butter reduction), dinner salads, ten kinds of poke, saimin, udon, and Portuguese bean soup. However, we both went for the plate lunch -- one kalua pig and one pork lau lau, both very good. The kalua pig was delicious, less overpoweringly salty than most, and a generous portion for $9.95 with rice and macaroni salad and a little piece of fresh pineapple. They also offer kalua pig loco moco, subs, and the ultimate heart attack on a plate appetizer, kalua pig cheese fries, a sort of Hawaiian poutine. We started with some edamame served in a garlic/chili/sesame oil sauce which were really tasty, hot in both senses, and would have been quite a satisfying bar snack in themselves. Full bar and you're welcome to just get drinks instead of food, although the menu requested a $10 minimum when they were having live music.
There's a children's menu (keiki grinds) for $7.95 and it would be a good place to take kids -- very much the kind of place where they can get up and wander around. The band was good, and several people from another table got up and did hula, which was fun. Band members came to every table and chatted with patrons during their break.
I'll have to go back and try the tofu and a few other things. It's definitely the best Hawaiian place I've been to in the Bay Area.
Honu's Island Grinds
1737 Buchanan St, San Francisco, CA