L&L Hawaiian BBQ
24223 Crenshaw Blvd. #G
Torrance, CA 90505
Phone: (310) 326-0810
Fax: (310) 326-0813
L&L Hawaiian BBQ began in 1976 when Johnson Kam and Eddie Flores, Jr., purchased the L&L Drive-Inn® on Liliha Street in Honolulu, Hawaii. With the success of their first restaurant they began franchising in 1988. In 1999, Kam and Flores launched their L&L brand of plate lunches to the mainland in California.
The traditional Hawaiian BBQ plate lunch consists of two servings of rice, a serving of macaroni salad, and features a generous serving of a hot entrée (a smaller “mini” version of the traditional plate lunch consists of one serving of rice, a serving of macaroni salad, and a small serving of a hot entrée). You will find fried Mahi Mahi, Masubi, Saimin and even what they call Loco Moco, which is a plate of Barbecued hamburger patties placed over rice, covered with brown gravy and topped with 2 eggs. There are also plenty of other island favorites with spam, portugese sausage and pork. Hawaiian is a fusion of ready to eat American and Japanese which has grown some interesting combinations There are nearly 200 L&L restaurants in Hawaii, California, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, Texas, New York, American Samoa, New Zealand and Japan.
OLIVER: It was a Saturday and Carl and I were both in catching up on work so we decided to Lunch Pig it. L&L Hawaiian BBQ is situated next to Subway and La Salsa Grill in the Torrance Crossroads Pavilion. It an unassuming place and you would be quick to miss it, except for the number of people that would cross your path as you tried to walk by. I was expecting them to serve beef and chicken bowls or maybe some Chinese food, but what they serve is real Hawaiian fast food.
First thing you notice when you walk in is that this place is hoppin’. There was a line to the door and the vibe of the place was that nothing stands still here for very long, and that wound up to be very true. With an efficiency you don’t often see they literally steam roll through the orders and cook the food. You could hear the constant splash of food going into the deep fryer and the orders being called out by number with out stop. If you like that sort of frenetic pace you will like it here. When I finally got up to place my order I was overwhelmed with the variety of different dishes I had never seen or heard of before. I knew I wanted to get the fried Mahi Mahi dish, but I also wanted something else. You have your choice of brown or white rice, I chose white. As I sat there stage struck trying to think of something to order she went back to cooking and waited for me to make up my mind.
I finally chose an order of Portugese Sausage Masubi. This is a twinkie sized rice bed with a 1/4″ thick slab of sausage in a seaweed wrap.
Drinks are serve yourself Pepsi as well as bottled water and juices from the fridge. They of course have chop sticks as well as traditional utensils. Much like In-N-Out finding a place to sit was an issue, seeing how crowded it was we both got our orders to go in case we would eat outside or even just bail and head back to the office, not ideal, but it was pretty crowded. Luckily a table opened up and I grabbed it, and ofcourse, it was in the walkway to the main entrance. After a few minutes my order was called and I picked it up. Upon inspecting it I was taken by the sheer volume of food. That is a lot of food. The fish was good, cooked just right, the rice was great, some of the best fast food rice I have had. Macaroni is always a treat for me, but the cabbage was a little crunchy for my tastes.
I really liked the whole experience, was different and unexpected. I will certainly be making Hawaiian BBQ a regular stop. If you want some unique food that will definitely fill you up, check them out. I give them 4 pigs for a great value and a very unique dish.
CARL: Oliver captured the essence of the experience so I’ll jump right in to the food. The menu board is quite lengthy so I asked the cashier what she recommended – and she immediately suggested the BBQ Mix. It is the top menu item on the first list on the left – so it must be popular. Since I had no idea what to expect, a sampler sounded good so I went with the BBQ Mix featuring Hawaiian barbecue beef, chicken and short ribs. The plate also came with two scoops of white rice and macaroni salad. The chicken was by far my favorite – fresh tasting, lean and just lightly seasoned. The beef had a great flavor to it but was a bit stringy with fat. I’m certain the fat helps provide the flavor but it made the meat hard to eat with the tiny plastic forks provided at the restaurant. The last part of the trio, the short ribs, was more like a garnish than a substantial edible part of the meal. It was more bone than meat and again, the small wimpy forks made it too hard to eat so I gave up on it. I totally understand why this place is packed – the food is unique and tasty – I think I just ordered the wrong thing. I should have just ordered the chicken – and I will next time I go back. As a small business owner I love to see independent franchises succeed, and this one is on fire. The down side is that the place is crowded and everything feels rushed and cramped. I suggest you get your order to go and use your own utensils. L&L gets high marks for taste but loses a few points for the overall experience. I give L&L 3.5 Pigs.