On the outskirts of the Lakewood Towne Center is a small slice of mahalo. The fast-food style L&L Barbecue offers fast-food versions of Hawaiian favorites – loco moco, saimin, grilled chicken and kalua pork, among others.
While L&L Barbecue may satisfy a quick craving, the food translates into a fast-food style of Hawaiian eating. The nationwide chain operates locations in Lakewood and Federal Way here.
Our visit found cheap eats in large portions served in take-out containers (even for dining in, everything comes in Styrofoam). While the food was serviceable, it lacked the finesse and flavor of the smaller, locally owned restaurants reviewed here today. Aloha saimin soup ($4.25) was tepid and with one-dimensional salty flavor. Lumpia ($1.50 for two) was crispy and hot, but the insides tasted like the egg rolls you’d find in the freezer section at your local supermarket. Entrees come with rice and mac salad. The salad was flat and the spillover heat from the entrees turned the noodles an unsavory limp and warm. Loco moco ($5.55 small/$7.55 large) are beefy, heavy burgers hand-formed and well seasoned. The gravy, however, was flat and thin. We had better luck with the Hawaiian barbecue plate ($8.95). The barbecue beef was fatty and chewy, as were the ribs, but the tender chicken thighs were succulent and glazed with a sticky sweet sauce. I’d order the chicken on a return visit.
Something I appreciated that I didn't see at the other Hawaiian restaurants visited for this report: low-carb plates and the offer of brown rice instead of white. That's a nice touch.
L&L BarbecueLakewood: 10417 Gravelly Lake Drive S.W., Lakewood, 253-588-8296Federal Way: 32225 Pacific Hwy S., Federal Way, 253-946-0788