Aloha my lovely Stumptown Lunch brahs! Are you ready to grind into some epic “plate lunch” awesomeness?
Plate Lunch: A combo menu item that is a traditional part of Hawaiian cuisine. While some options will vary, the standard plate lunch consists of a main entrée, two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad.
We’d been hearing about the Hawaiian Time location in the Pearl District almost constantly since we arrived back in PDX last month. This is mainly because our best bud, Matt W., is a regular and he’s constantly bragging about having just eaten there on the way over to Stumptown Lunch HQs. (BTW, yeah, thanks for NOT bringing us some all those times, Matt!)
So, after a recent visit to Powell’s, we decided to hoof it a few blocks to try some of the Polynesian meat treats for ourselves.
The verdict is in: What the heck were we waiting for?!?!
To say it was good would be an understatement. To say it was delicious would still be an understatement. To say that we could eat at Hawaiian Time every single day would be absolutely accurate. Seriously. It’s that good!
Walking into the former-gas-station-turned-tiny-restaurant-joint, we were surprised by how simple and straightforward the menu was. Meat, more meat, side of meat, marinated meat, grilled meat, seasoned meat…oh, and steamed rice and that notorious mac salad. Yes, there are one or two vegetarian options, but serious veggie-only types won’t have much to pick from here.
If you are going for one of the plate lunches you’ll have three sizes to choose from. The regular size has one generous portion of your choice of meat, two scoops of rice and a scoop of mac salad. The smaller “dakine” portion contains a little less meat (but not by much) and one scoop each of rice and mac salad. If you are really hungry (and I mean REALLY hungry) there’s the “alii” portion, which includes a whopping 11.5 ounces of meat, three scoops of rice and two scoops of mac salad. Best be off-the-Richter hungry, son!
Obviously, the main draw to Hawaiian Time is the meat. It truly is melt-in-your-mouth, tasty goodness. From the Kekoa’s Special Beef to the Huli-Huli Chicken to the Kalua Pig Plate of pulled pork, you really can’t go wrong. After you pick up your plate you have a variety of sauces (teriyaki, soy, spicy Sriracha, etc.) to kick the flavors up a notch.
The traditional sides, the steamed rice and macaroni salad, go perfectly with the meat. The rice is light, fluffy and steamed to perfection. At Hawaiian Time, the usually mayo-laden mac salad actually tastes much more zesty and healthy than your typical backyard BBQ stuff.
Not interested in a hefty plate lunch? Hawaiian Time also offers a hearty Chinese chicken salad and three types of meaty sandwiches. Our friend Matt has pretty much tasted the entire menu and swears that the salad is his fave item.
The prices at Hawaiian Time are also an excellent value. We ordered one dakine-sized Kalua Pig Plate ($6), an alii-sized mixed meat plate ($10.95) and two sodas ($1.50 each)—so our entire meal was less than $20! Almost everything on the Hawaiian Time menu is under $10, and we felt that the smaller “dakine” portion was definitely enough for a (filling) lunch.
Overall, we’re enamored with Hawaiian Time. And, yes, we would probably eat there everyday if our waistline didn’t mind. While the space itself is small, if you visit on a sunny (er, non-rainy) day, they have some additional outside seating.
While Portland might not have the constant sun rays, luaus, gnarly waves or ukulele players, you can at least get beached on a primo plate lunch without spending all that moolah on a plane ticket.
PROS: Melt-in-your-mouth meaty plate lunches.
Some outdoor seating (for sunny day ala carte dining).
Very reasonable prices for a very, very filling meal.
CONS: Limited lot parking.
Not many veggie options (if that’s your sort of thing).