If you are reading this, I’m in Waikiki! I can’t wait to see if the food in Hawaii bears any resemblance to the food at this joint in Atlanta…I have my fingers crossed that it does not. Oh, and perhaps they could have consulted the internet for the correct spelling of Waikiki before making a sign.
Both LC and I have driven past this place on Briarcliff dozens of times, always curious exactly what Hawaiian BBQ is. It conjures up images of whole roasted pigs, big meaty smoked ribs, grilled pineapple. Well, get those tasty images out of your head or you’ll be disappointed with this place. There are no meats prepared in a smoker, in fact, nothing is actually barbecued.
The decor is cheap and cheery, decorated with stereotypical plastic palm trees. Guests order at the counter from a huge selection of mostly Asian inspired fast food mainstays like steamed dumplings, spring rolls, onion rings, and chicken wings to start.
LC and I both ordered the $6.99 lunch special, a Chinese food court wannabe, each with two choices of meat, one scoop of steamed rice, and a scoop of macaroni salad that all plates come with. LC chose the BBQ pork and spicy chicken while I went with BBQ beef rib and spicy pork. I also was excited to try their fried plantains, which I thought would be a great accompaniment with my pork. However, the plantains came out right away, still sizzling from the deep fryer.
The plates at Waikikie consist of bite-size pieces of sauteed or deep fried pork, chicken, or beef tossed in whichever sauce you choose, like teriyaki or katsu. A runner delivered our food on paper plates. It was difficult to tell which was which. My beef rib wasn’t a whole rib, but rather thin slices. Inexplicably, a flavorless layer of cabbage was beneath the meat.
Once cooled off, the plantains proved to be some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Chewy, crisp edges gave way to the slightly sweet fruit. They would have been a great compliment to BBQ pork, but unfortunately, they don’t serve that at Waikikie.
The back of the menu describes the food at Waikikie as Hawaiian “local food”, making me question my desire to travel halfway across the globe to our 50th state. If this is what they will serve me there, I think I’ll go to Thailand instead.
2160 Briarcliff Road NE 404-638-1115