You can't go to Hawaii without getting a plate lunch, or two..... Here's a round-up of some plate lunches over the course of my last two visits.
Man, Grace's goes back a looong way for me. We used to eat at the lunch wagon near University....my good friend's first job in High School was working at the original location in Moiliili. He used to have to make the katsu sauce! Eventually, Grace's spread everywhere and like many chains of this type...sustainability just wasn't there I guess. The last time I ate at a Grace's was perhaps about 16 years ago....it was a chicken katsu, sweet sour pork mix at the now defunct (I didn't know that until the day I left for my flight home) Kapahulu location across Kaimuki High School. I'd wondered how my tastes and perhaps Grace's had changed over the years.....I knew that perhaps this would be messing with some good memories, but I just had to find out.
Man, times have changed....so the mixed plate in now three items, you're asked for two "salads"..... and since no sweet-sour pork and the pressure was on, I got some roast pork and mochiko chicken to go with my katsu.
Man, that "Asian" coleslaw tasted like it was dressed with pure rice vinegar and I was never a fan of the almost mainland like sour mac salad anyway. In retrospect, I should have just gotten the chicken katsu...memories would have remained untarnished. The mochiko chicken was way bland and greasy, even by plate lunch standards. The roast pork was dry, lukewarm, the gravy gluey, and also flavorless...where was that bottle of tabasco again? The katsu still delivered though.....
Crisp and moist, it was as I remembered, as was the tsukemono like "kimchi". The katsu sauce tasted different to me..... I recall it having a stronger ketchup base. Nice to see the chow fun still resides below the proteins.
So lets see, if we tally things up, this was batting about .400, nice if you're playing baseball, not so great if you're trying to rekindle some memories. Of course the thoguht came to me, I'd never eaten at this location. Could that have been a factor?
98-820 Moanalua Rd
Aiea, HI 96701
Diamond Head Market and Grill:
I'm not sure where I first heard about this place....I think it's either Kat or Kathy, so why not mentioned them both, right? I hadn't been round this part of Monsarrat in ages.....when this place was still Burgerland!
I was feeling pretty hungry, so I got the special for the day, a Kalbi - Korean Chicken mixed plate. And yes, this place does offer brown rice. My plate looked lovely, not over-carbed, and with greens....the new wave of plate lunches.
The grade of LA Kalbi, the cross cut short ribs was excellent by plate lunch standards, very tender and moist. There was a mild fruity component, but this was very mild in flavor, even when talking in terms of "local-style" kalbi which tends toward the sweet side. The chicken on the other hand was delicious, mild heat, light sweetness, not too salty....a nice savory aspect from what I believe is kochujung...really good.
I loved what I saw on the breakfast menu....so I think I'll bring the Missus next time for breakfast.
Diamond Head Market & Grill
3158 Monsarrat Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815