Thursday, May 24, 2012

L&L Drive-Inn®

The founders of the L&L Drive-Inn® decided to franchise and expand their operation in 1988. They were among the first to build a reputation of serving fresh plate lunches, in generous portions, and low prices across Hawaii with their very successful chain of L&L Drive-Inn® restaurants. L&L’s strong Hawaii roots provides the company the clout in being able to give customers an authentic Hawaiian taste and an authentic experience. Now available across the United States with over 175 locations in 10 states including California, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Texas, Utah, New York, and Hawaii!

The traditional Hawaiian plate lunch consists of two servings of rice, a serving of macaroni salad, and features a generous serving of a hot entrée (a smaller “mini” version of the traditional plate lunch consists of one serving of rice, a serving of macaroni salad, and a small serving of a hot entrée). L&L Hawaiian Barbecue’s® unique meal composition and signature brand of Asian and American fusion cuisine has helped it to stand out from the others that offer Hawaiian style cuisine.

March 2010: We were still craving authentic plate lunch after our failed venture to Leilani's. So on our way back to car from eating at Kabuki's in Pacific Beach, San Diego we saw an L&L and had to go in and order something to go! Immediately, we were greeted by an "Aloha!" and a grin spread across my face as I perused the menu with all my local favorites. Since I was full of sushi, I made a mental note that I would come back to L&L's next time I was in California for sure.

May 2012: While on Maui, we grabbed lunch at the Lahaina L&L before our snorkel trip and it was mediocre.  We shared the BBQ Mix plate so that Keith could eat the beef and short ribs and I could have some of the chicken.  Service was unusually slower at this location and the restaurant itself was on the smaller side.  I dismissed it since we were eating so many other great items in Maui.  At the end of our trip on Kauai, before heading to the airport for our return flight back home to DC, we saw another L&L on the north side on the way to Hanalei and decided to stop for a late lunch, since we did not enjoy our experience as much in Maui.  It was starting to rain, and I was craving saimin, a Japanese noodle dish similar to ramen.  I ordered a traditional bowl while Keith tried the Aloha version with added BBQ chicken and a fried egg. The saimin was nice and warm and had good flavor from the broth, but the noodles were a little disappointing and very similar to cheap instant noodles.  I also ordered a mini plate of the chicken katsu, and Keith ordered a mini short ribs plate.  Even as a "mini" plate the portion was more than enough for me to eat.  The meat was generous, probably two full pieces of chicken cut up in strips.  A favorite is the macaroni salad.  This is no ordinary macaroni salad.  Made with simply elbow noodles, mayonnaise, bits of shredded carrot and sometimes bits of crab meat, this mac salad is a bit sweeter with no vinegar as some other American versions are prepared.  Eating all of this with rice and noodle soup gave a very filling meal.  I was happy we were able to get one last taste of Hawaii before we left.


Total Rating: 3.525
Food: 3.5, Price: 4, Service: 3, Ambience: 3, Accessibility: 4

What I ate:

Chicken Katsu
tender pieces of boneless chicken coated with special seasoning and deep-fried,
served with L&L Hawaiian Barbecue® Chicken Katsu sauce, white rice, and macaroni salad
Saimin
specially prepared noodles mixed with L&L Hawaiian Barbecue® broth

Plus Keith ate:


Short Ribs
juicy beef short ribs marinated in L&L Hawaiian Barbecue® sauce
and grilled to perfection served with white rice and macaroni salad


BBQ Mix
a hearty mix of tasty L&L Hawaiian Barbecue® beef, chicken, & short ribs
served with rice and macaroni salad

Aloha Saimin
specially prepared noodles mixed with L&L Hawaiian Barbecue® broth,
with Hawaiian Barbecue chicken, topped with a fried egg

L&L Drive Inn on Urbanspoon

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