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Review: Kauai Island Grill

February 8th, 2008 · 3 Comments

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Kauai Island Grill
811 NW Murray Boulevard
Portland, OR
503-643-4820
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Rating: ★★★½☆

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A little bit of Hawaii is the perfect pick-me-up during a rainy Stumptown lunch hour; so, today I trekked to the Westside to sample some tasty teriyaki treats. But Kauai Island Grill’s menu goes way beyond teriyaki, they offer traditional Hawaiian fare–where else can you find SPAM on a menu?

The restaurant itself is pretty much a hole in the wall, and you’ll want to get it to go because seating is minimal (by minimal, I mean there are just two small tables and a counter with stools). But looking beyond the seating dilemma, this place is charming and seems to be a family-run joint with a following of regulars who are happy to spend the wait for takeout chatting with the women behind the counter. The wall is covered with family photos, kitschy Hawaiian pictures and even a couple of autographed photos (hello, Peter Jacobsen!).

I went with Plate #1, which included a skewer of teriyaki chicken, a skewer of teriyaki beef, a scoop of white rice and a scoop of macaroni salad. The meat was really tender and covered in sweet teriyaki sauce, and the macaroni salad was great (although probably not diet-friendly). My only complaint would be that they don’t include extra teriyaki sauce for the white rice, so it was kind of bland. If I do order it again, I am going to ask for a side of teriyaki sauce just for the rice.

My dining companion ordered the Fried Noodle Plate, which is pretty much as advertised, but with chopped ham and a little artificial crab added into the mix. I tried a few bites and it was pretty good, although, and strangely, the crab seemed to give the dish a bit of a fishy flavor.

I took a look at another customer’s order, a hamburger and fries, and I couldn’t believe how huge the patty was! For just $3.75, I might just have to visit again to try it! Other menu options include 16 traditional Hawaiian “plate lunch” options, served with white rice and macaroni salad. These options include Kalua Pork, Sweet and Sour Ribs, Chicken or Pork Katsu and Hamburger Steak. There is also a Smaller Portions menu; those items don’t come with the sides, but are still plenty of food. The menu includes the aforementioned hamburger and fries as well as a variety of teriyaki bowls and other Hawaiian favorites.

The portions are large, but manageable. The staff is incredibly friendly. The place has a family feel. They offer some very traditional Hawaiian items, such as Poi, Ahi Poke and Pineapple Upside Down Cake on Fridays and Saturdays. Also note that the restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Overall, this is a great place to grab some teriyaki at a reasonable price or to try out some more traditional Hawaiian fare. But be prepared to take your order to go!

Pros: Friendly waitstaff, the meat was tender and delicious, the macaroni salad was yummy, the order came out pretty quick

Cons: Lack of seating, could put more meat on the skewers, could have used more teriyaki sauce for the rice, they still use Styrofoam for takeout

Visit Kauai Island Grill’s website and menu
Kauai Island Grill on Urbanspoon

Tags: $ · $$ · Burgers · Friendly Waitstaff · Hawaiian · Hole-in-the-Wall · Japanese · Noodles · NW · Teriyaki · To-Go, Please

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 John // Apr 4, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Kauai Island Grill is the best Hawaiian food I have encountered in the Greater Portland area. The #6 Teriyaki Chicken plate lunch is world class, and the Hawaiian desserts are superb. I am grateful to live and work nearby…Kauai Island Grill is a weekly must!

  • 2 Suzy moore // Jan 13, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Amazing food! Amazing Service! Highly Recommended!

  • 3 Susie // Apr 22, 2009 at 10:05 am

    For the transplanted kamaaina this is home away from home. Totally ono grinds da way its supposed to be! I LOVE the food, the staff and will eat there every chance I can. Aloha nui ka kou!

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