I’m going to end up inviting the ire of all the Kauai Family Restaurant fans out there especially those who wrote love letters/notes and went gaga in Yelp and Urbanspoon. Fine. Bring it on.
My family has relatives in the Big Island, Oahu, and Maui so I grew up having been exposed to Hawaiiana at a young age even though I didn’t touch aloha grounds until I was in my teens. Being an Asian Pacific Islander, island culture is inveterated in the multicultural environment I grew up in. The high school I attended in California’s well known Bay Area could easily pass for Iolani High or Kamehameha High, though the ratio of hapas and haoles is open for dispute.
Our last Hawaiian trip was chiefly for a friend’s wedding and to visit relatives. But another reason implicated itself and a spur-of-the-moment food trip in search of ono kine local grinds became a part of the itinerary… natch.
I enjoy local Hawaiian cuisine despite it being unhealthy. And truly, the amount of fat and sodium in local island dishes ignores the USDA dietary guidelines; practically giving it the finger. Hawaiian cuisine is all about taste. Forget calories. If it’s ono, eat it. No one in Hawai’i goes on a diet. I honestly think dieting is kapu there.
I wanted to share my cred before I rant about a purportedly beloved Hawaiian restaurant in Seattle. The Hubby liked it. I, on the other hand, wasn’t wowed. I don’t dislike it. I’m tightrope walking the middle zone.
Kauai Family Restaurant is low-key, kitschy, and laid-back. I like the casual atmosphere and the seemingly friendly service. We were there during a Saturday lunch hour and the place was bustling with activity. The place felt familiar. Maybe it’s the faces of the servers because they have similar features to my relatives’ or maybe because the restaurant’s ambience reminds me of the feel of my island relatives’ homes.
The Hubby had the kalua pig with two scoops of rice and a scoop of mac. He liked the kalua pig. I’ve had better (and so should he). I’m surprised at the raves online over the kalua pig. Am I missing something here? My tastebuds were intact when we visited so I’m baffled by the
love notes comments left by reviewers. Though I did like the mac.
I had the fried fish and shrimp which regularly comes with chips/fries but I asked to have it omitted. I should have been blunt and asked for an extra scoop of mac; I expected to be asked what I’d want for a replacement for the chips, but that didn’t happen. We also had lomi lomi (not pictured). Again, I’ve had better. There were more tomato and less salmon. The lawai crispy ginger chicken (not pictured) that we ordered to-go was so-so and I found it cloyingly sweet. I learned something new about myself: I don’t like sweet-flavored fried chicken unless it’s sweet and sour chicken.
Hey KFR lovers, drop those pitchforks. I’m going to be fair and try Kauai Family Restaurant again. Maybe it’ll be better the second time. If I end up not liking it, then at least I’ll be able to say with reason, “I tried it twice and it didn’t work for me.” At any rate, I could also put my cooking chops to good use and just make the ono grinds myself. Well that’s a thought…