3/24/2006

 

Restaurant Review: Sunset Grill

Who knew that tucked away in the dismal brown confines of the Sunset Mini-Mall on US95 in Coeur d'Alene there's a wonderful little Hawaiian restaurant called the Sunset Grill? Well, I didn't, at least not until Lou and I were driving up the slow highway and a sign popped out at me "Authentic Hawaiian BBQ". My tummy was growling, so those were suddenly the 3 most appetizing words I had ever heard. I've had everything from Ethiopian to Norwegian, but I had never dabbled in "authentic Hawaiian", so I wasn't sure what to expect. The place was clean and decorated like a back patio on a hot summers day, which is just what was needed on this cold, pissy, rainy day in March. The place is set up with huge, monolithic picnic tables constructed out of huge logs and with the ability to sit 20 people each. Some potted palm and various hanging Hawaiian frou-frou adds to the atmosphere, but the place is refreshingly fuss-free. We immediately spotted the buffet table but were told that was only on Fridays. (And, oh yes, we will be back for some of THAT all-you-can-eat action!) The menu options weren't huge - chicken, beef or pork; teriyaki or katsu. Quite a few dishes that were unfamiliar to me (again, can't wait to check out that buffet.) I didn't realize that Hawaiian cuisine had so many similarities to Japanese, but I guess that makes sense. We both opted for the Teriyaki Chicken ($5.99). Our waitress disappeared behind a flowery curtain for a few minutes and returned with huge styrofoam plates full of food. My god, there must have been the equivalent of over half a chicken on my plate, carefully deboned and coated in a thick brown Teriyaki glaze. This was the real deal. I wondered why I hadn't been given a knife, since the chicken pieces were huge, then I realized I didn't need one because the chicken was cooked so tender you could cut it with a fork or chopstick (Lou). The teriyaki flavor was just perfect, tangy and sweet and burnt to a subtle crispiness around the edges. The fact that the chicken was a bit fatty and gnarly in spots just added to the backyard BBQ charm of it all, like they just ripped up a chicken right there and threw it on the grill. Served with two heaping scoops of sticky rice and a scoop of their trademark macaroni/potato salad, it was almost more than I could finish. But I did, despite the leering gaze of Lou, who had finished ten minutes before myself and was still hungry. The Sunset Grill is a fun and delicious treat and I highly recommend a visit. Maybe I'll see you there for the Friday all-you-can-eat buffet... Sunset Grill 296. W Sunset Ave. Coeur d'Alene, ID 208-676-0123 Tues-Sat10A-9P

Comments:
I just wanted to point out, that the food you had was not actually "authentic Hawaiian", but what is refered to in Hawaii as a local food - Plate Lunch . Plate lunch is exactly what you described, a scoop of rice, a scoop of mac salad (though I always get two scoops of rice) and some type of meat.

Real Hawaiian food (the stuff Hawaiian's ate before contact with the west) is a lot harder to find. There isn't even a lot of it on the islands, but it's there if you know where to look. It includes Poi (taro paste) Kalua Pig, Poke and Haupia.

If you go back to that restaurant, let me know what else is on the menu. Do they have Spam Musubi or Loco Moco?
 
Zanshin is right. Whoever owns this restaurant should change their sign. It's misleading. Your pictures seems to show Chicken Katsu (deep fried chicken meat), which is a Japanese dish.
 
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