Aloha Island Grill
2267 North Rampart Boulevard (last visit: November 2008).
Big portions of starchy food. What could be better? Local Hawaiian food mixes cuisines from around the Pacific. Throw in contributions from a colonial superpower (Portugal) and a modern one (U.S.), and you have some pretty interesting food. It isn't fancy, but there's something about it that keeps me coming back.
So why Las Vegas? A very large expatriate Hawaiian community has taken root here. Probably numbering in the tens of thousands, it supports a large number of Hawaiian restaurants and stores. There's even a hotel (The California) that makes a special effort to cater to Hawaiian visitors.
The menu offers typical local Hawaiian fare, at typically low prices.
It's a very small, informal place. Order at the counter; your meal will be brought to you when it's ready. There are about 20 seats.
I ordered the Chicken Combo plate lunch. A generous portion of chicken katsu consisted of flavorful chicken covered with a medium thick layer of very crispy coating. It was very good. Grilled chicken also came in a generous portion. The boneless chicken pieces had some semi-crisp skin, and were still juicy. I'm normally a katsu fan, but the grilled chicken was every bit as good. The accompanying sweet BBQ sauce was OK, but didn't add much to the flavor. Accompanying all of this was the standard two scoops of rice, and one scoop of pretty decent macaroni salad.
It's a long drive from The Strip to Aloha Island Grill, but this is one of the better places for such food - certainly better than Aloha Kitchen and Aloha Specialties. If you're anywhere in the area, it's worth a stop.
The meal was $8, plus drink, tax and tip.
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