My friend's, Onna's, son recently became the co-owner of the Loco Moco Drive Inn at Moanalua Shopping Center. Onna's definitely passed her cooking skills to her son. Several blog entries ago I wrote about Onna's fabulous green onion chicken demo at Elsie's home.
We had lunch at Loco Moco at Onna's invitation. Right off it is clear that it is the only truly local eating establishment in the area. The rest of the places are franchises from the Big, Big Island. Loco Moco Drive Inn has the usual plate lunch favorites (Chicken Cutlet, Beef Stew, Pork Chops, e.g., even Oxtail Soup) but these are executed with care. A flavorful Pork Adobo was featured as a special on the day we were there.
Onna is one proud mama and for good reason. Everyone we met was friendly and helpful. This place has that perfect combination of what I call fast slow food. What's that? Well it has fast service but it's also the kind of slow comfort-food cooking you would expect from home. Fast, fresh, LOTS and reasonable.
Case in point, the mini-sized ($5.25) mochiko chicken. Each mini plate is heaped with the entree and a generous scoop of rice and either potato or toss salad. The mochiko chicken was about as perfect as they come. Hot from the fresh oil. Crispy, thin coating surrounding well-seasoned, slightly sweet and moist chicken. I think a mini plate would generously satisfy most people unless you are plain starving.
Word has gotten around because it was constantly busy while we were there. One sure sign of a good pick-policemen on break chowing down on the 'ono kaukau! Have you ever been stuck near the airport waiting for a flight or hungry after leaving Target nearby? Now there's a great little place to grab some grindz.