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L&L Hawaiian Barbecue -- A Thing of the Past

L & L's Chicken Katsu "bento"
L & L's Chicken Katsu "bento"

L & L Hawaiian Barbecue


If you've ever been to Hawaii, you probably tried what the locals call "bento" or box lunch. For those of you that have never been, a "bento" is a meal that is in some kind of box, either open, or with a lid.

The most famous chain that has found its way to the Mainland, is L & L Hawaiian Barbecue...

The original owners brought the chain over, to California in 1999, but then began to gradually sell them as franchises.

You might ask, why does this matter? When the owners, Johnson Kam and Eddie Flores Jr. brought L & L over, they also brought staff from Hawaii as well. Having tried L & L in Hawaii, and then in Southern California, it still had that Hawaiian taste... But, times have changed...

For this review, I am basing this on the L & L's in the San Fernando Valley, including Van Nuys and Northridge. Let me just say, the food does not taste the same as before.

My favorite combo is the Chicken Katsu, and I'll sometimes change it to a mixed plate with Hawaiian BBQ Chicken, or Hawaiian BBQ Beef, or even the grilled Mahi Mahi. The taste however, does not taste fresh as it once did.

The Chicken Katsu taste like it is deep fried in a cheap oil, and has no flavor, but tastes bland. The Hawaiian BBQ Chicken and Hawaiian BBQ Beef is salty, with too much fat still attached, and the Mahi Mahi is rough and tastes old.

The rice is still good, and I've always loved their macaroni salad, but too many times I've received a stomach ache, which I think would be from the macaroni salad, due to the mayonnaise and tempartures as well as time period it needs to be held at.

I even wrote the Northridge restaurant once to complain about getting sick, directly after eating the food, and their response was that I could have gotten sick from any place, not just theirs...

When I went to visit a few months back, the same Northridge restaurant had a B food rating hanging outside of the window. I asked the cashier why that was, and her reply was the food was not being held at correct temperatures, and that I should go online to look at it.

I did go online and they have SIX violations, and an 86 or B rating still. To look at all their violations, click here and type in L & L for name and street Devonshire.

If I am craving Hawaiian food, I may step in to an A rated L & L, but I know it will be a far cry from the real thing...


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