A lot of the time, when I eat out, I spend longer than I should deliberating over a menu to find the right balance between meat and vegetables. This was not one of those times.
459 College Boulevard, Oceanside
It didn’t take more than a glance to know there wouldn’t be much in the way of cruciferous or leafy greens at Ohana Hawaiian BBQ. Hawaiian BBQ dishes aren’t known for their vegan-friendliness, and the small, inland Oceanside strip mall eatery stays true to form.
The real question was exactly which kind of meat I would gorge on with a side of mayo-heavy macaroni salad. Roasted Kalua pork? Breaded katsu chicken filets? Spam?
It was never going to be spam, but several of the grilled, fried, or roasted meats sounded appetizing. So when I noticed the Three Flavor Mix, I bit. BBQ beef, BBQ chicken, and BBQ beef ribs. With nary a vegetable in sight, I rationalized that tripling up on meat was okay, because I was avoiding pork. Yes, it’s true, I’m a cardiologist’s nightmare.
To be fair, the Ohana menu does offer three salad options, and one of them doesn’t even include chicken (though it does feature the questionable pairing of tomato and pineapple).
However, when a Styrofoam container of food arrived at the table, its obvious heft immediately put all thoughts of nutrition out of my head. I popped open the lid to find a pile of meat in three subtly different shades of brown. The plate lunch delivered on that side of mac salad and also two ice cream scoops of white rice.
And, what was that? A tiny sliver of green sticking out the bottom of that stack of meat? Yes, I found a few slivers of cabbage — not much, but I appreciated the gesture.
The chicken proved my favorite, both for its pleasing char and for the slightly sweet tang of its cooked-in sauce. The BBQ beef skewed sweeter, its thin strips of fatty beef pulling off a neat trick of being both juicy and cooked through. Still, next time I’d likely wise up and dig on swine.
The cross-cut slice of short ribs didn’t do it for me. Too much gristle and not enough payoff in the flavor department. I noticed, belatedly, that for the same $9.50 price tag I could have simply ordered two meats, keeping it simple and possibly seeming less an unabashed glutton in the process.
Either way, you get a lot of food for less than ten bucks, and fans of giant portions of cheap, grilled meats will get a tasty enough bellyful at Ohana. Complete with cabbage sliver.