Who: A Father and Son that like to eat.

Where: The Bay Area, California.

The Goal: To find the best hidden lunch spots based on your suggestions. We're looking for secret gems, not your neighborhood Chili's. We'll try anything - no distance in the Bay Area too far, no ethnicity of food too scary. We love a good challenge.

The Result: Based on our rating system, we will determine the best spot for lunch by the end of summer.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lunch #8: Little Lou's BBQ

Eureka! There's BBQ Gold in thar' them Los Gatos hills!

Okay, maybe not in the hills of Los Gatos, but it is on Los Gatos Boulevard off of Hwy 17 and Lark. Little Lou's is serving big BBQ flavor in this little neighborhood gem with all your favorites on a menu so extensive it would take several visits to check out all the items including bbq chicken, hot links, pork and beef ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, beef brisket and more. The portions are huge, the service was extremely friendly and the prices are reasonable which right off the bat makes Little Lou's a winner...but what about how the food tastes?

My dad ordered the Hungry Man lunch special which comes with either two pieces of chicken (leg and thigh) or one pork rib and one beef rib, two sides and a piece of garlic bread for around $6. I ordered the full combo with the two pieces of chicken, two pork ribs, two sides and a piece of garlic bread to get the full experience. The ribs were outstanding, meaty, flavorful and huge. The bbq sauce that comes on the table is delicious and I couldn't help but to keep reapplying it in large quantities - we both ended up making a huge mess at our table and on our faces - but that makes good bbq right? The bbq chicken was also excellent and both pieces of chicken were very hot and had lots of juicy meat. Our sides were potato salad, corn on the cob, cole slaw and baked beans and all four were delicious - the best being my dad's potato salad - but the clear star of the show were the ribs. They offer an all you can eat ribs night which seems like a dangerous proposition...and one I'll likely take them up on in the near future. They also have sweet potato pie that I was dying to try but they were out. Bummer! It's probably a good thing since I could only finish half my lunch and had to take the rest home...

If you've ever been to Crimson restaurant in Los Gatos, you'll notice Little Lou's off to the side and probably not pay much mind. We've walked past the place several times and from the outside you might dismiss it - but inside it is cozy, clean and filled with the owners Boston Red Sox memorabilia. In fact, there is a sign at the front that demands that New York Yankee fans must pay double! This is the kind of character you want in a bbq place and they have the food to match. This is real winner that my dad ranks up with his two favorite bbq joints, Tony Roma's and Sam's BBQ. Go check it out!

Little Lou's BBQ
Los Gatos Blvd off Hwy 17/Lark Exit
Rating: 9 out of 10

Lunch #7: Lukoki Hawaiian BBQ

This being a blog named after the delicious staple of Hawaiian food culture, the infamous plate lunch, it's only fitting that we visit a Hawaiian style drive-in in search of our favorite lunch place in the Bay Area. Well...if you're looking for an authentic Hawaiian BBQ experience, don't bother stopping by Lukoki Hawaiian BBQ in Mountain View. A true islander would have a real "beef" (which is pigeon slang for problem) with the food here. In fact, we're not even sure if we'd serve it to our least favorite haole (foreigner).

Lukoki's is located in the shopping center off Showers and El Camino next to the Walmart but when we walked in the door, we knew something was immediately off. The decor is that of an upscale coffee shop with some local Hawaiian decor, and while there's counter service - if you want to eat there, you have to sit down and get your food from a waitress on real porcelain plates and silverware instead of the trademark plate lunch plastic fork and sagging paper plate. Being plate lunch experts, we ordered a combination of several of our favorites, including chicken katzu, bbq chicken, bbq beef, bbq spare rib and fried shrimp and fried mahi mahi. My dad thought his seafood was okay and I would say the same thing about the bbq chicken. The stand out on my plate was the tender and flavorful bbq spare rib, but there just wasn't enough meat to make it the star of the meal. The chicken katzu could have been any frozen Hormel chicken patty served on sushi rice and passed off as chicken katzu masubi (sushi roll). Very disappointed - I didn't even finish it. By far the worst and most offensive was the disgraceful piece of leather Lukoki passed off as bbq beef. My dad thought there was no excuse to serve such dry bbq beef - it tasted like it had been sitting around for an hour. Hawaiian BBQ Beef is so thinly sliced it should be cooked to order, as it is at other better Hawaiian BBQ places in the Bay Area including our favorite J&J in Cupertino - so this was a huge disappointment and left a bad taste in our mouth, literally.

So, in the end, I would leave this island disaster alone. For a restaurant that formerly had a good reputation before they merged with the coffee shop next door, the food has gone downhill and the prices are pretty unreasonable - especially when you consider you can get the same meal we got at J&J for almost $15 less. 

Mountain View (Showers/El Camino)
Our Rating: 4/10