Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mele Kalikimaka

I had really hoped to provide you with more information about dining options in the Ridge-Meadows area. Sadly, the best I've come up has been a diner, and my son's cooking school. Last night however I think I found a winner.

In fact, the boys and I have driven by this establishment a number of times. We almost went in once, but the concept seemed so odd and the recipe didn't really jump out at as as being anything other than a potential train-wreck.  Last night was different for some reason. And so we found ourselves sitting in the Waikiki Hawaiian BBQ & Sushi Restaurant in Maple Ridge.

Yup. BBQ and Sushi. Apparently this is not all that odd. A little bit of thought will bring you to the realization that there are a lot of Japanese on the Hawaiian Islands. So while the menu at the Waikiki doesn't have any spam, there are many items here that are typically Hawaiian.

Loco Moco for example.

Loco Moco is a hamburger patty on top of rice, surrounded by gravy and topped with a fried egg. Our particular version of Loco Moco even had some pineapple and pickled daicon as a garnish, and as the boys and I stared at this concoction it occurred to me that our previous decision to avoid this place may have been the correct one. Ryan took one for the team, and since he didn't keel over in pain, Matt & I followed. It wasn't awful, but there was nothing here to inspire visions of Don Ho either.

Things did improve. Quite a bit in fact.

I asked our server what she would recommend, and was a little disappointed when she pointed to the Spring Rolls. To me, Spring Rolls are about as Hawaiian as ... well ... the blond-haired blue-eyed server that suggested them. "But they're really good," she insisted. And to her credit, they were.

Nicely deep-fired so they weren't too greasy. The pork and veggie filling was almost creamy (I suppose this is how Hawaiians like their Spring Rolls?) which gave a nice contrast to the crunchy exterior.

Matt and I each ordered the ubiquitous "Combo Platter." You choose two items from a list of about 10 (which included the aforementioned spring rolls, dumplings, short ribs, "Volcano" pork/chicken/beef, and others) and they come with salad, rice and fries. I had Volcano Pork and Short Ribs (like Korean Ribs, which are cut across the rib bones), Matt had the same Pork and the dumplings.

Give the dumplings a miss. But everything else was really quite excellent. The Volcano Pork is thinly sliced pork flash fried with a spicy rub/sauce. If I had a minor quibble it would be that there was a little grainy texture left on the pork from the rub. But the flavour more than made up for it. A little heat, with an almost Spanish seasoning. It was really tender and had Matt and I hoarding it from Ryan. The short ribs were equally tender, but with very little seasoning.

The combos were accompanied with a small portion of really crispy but quite greasy fries. I only bring them up because they seemed such an odd accompaniment ... but were so damn tasty! I'd go back for an order of fries and Volcano Pork alone. There was also a small dish of chili-plum sauce which was tasty with the Spring Rolls but not much else.

Dinner for 3 set us back $55 including tax and tip. Apparently they do a roaring take-out business as well.

Waikiki Hawaiian BBQ & Sushi
22783 Dewdney Trunk Rd
Maple Ridge, BC
604) 466-3131

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