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.
LUKOLI HAWAIIAN BBQ
Mountain View (Showers/El Camino)
Our Rating: 4/10