Welcome to Chow Fun. Beginning with this posting, we’ll share periodic chats about food and dining. More informal revelations than the usual reviews, with focus on chowing … from snacks to casual dining.
Had a recent yearning for BBQ ribs, so ventured to Tex808 BBQ & Brews at the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center. This joint is jumping, for folks hungry for ribs and brisket.
Made two visits, since what I wanted to try the first time – the kal bi ribs – was sold out.
So, I ordered the usual ribs, with a choice of sauces, which wound up being a generous portion. I ate one half, taking the leftover home.
Still curious about the kal bi, I returned a week later and ordered ‘em.
The Tex88 kal bi, served with rice and salad on an aluminum tray.
Alas, I had mixed feelings. While the portion also was plentiful – two rather thick slabs, not the thinner cuts you get at Yummy BBQ outlets or Kim’s (in Hawaii Kai), so I consumed one, took one home.
Frankly, if you like Korean kal bi, stick to a Korean BBQ restaurant. The Tex version had the Korean flavor, but it’s smoked like the house ribs, so the ribs were tough and dry. The butter knife provided (no serrated knife) could not easily cut through the meat.
Menu diversity is wonderful, but the kal bi here turns out to be a disappointing distraction.
The ribs and brisket come with choices of starch (rice, fries) and sides (like potato-mac salad, baked beans). The cafeteria style presentation – an aluminum tray with the entrée, with the sides served in paper luau-type mini-trays – was functional but uninspired.
There are tables facing the Hawaii Kai marina, and boats float by and there are mutual waving, from boaters and diners. On a dark night, blackness rules, with glistening lights from residents across the bay.
The waitstaff is friendly, and your server is your cashier, and mine signed me up for frequent diner points, but didn’t explain the rewards. There’s (loud) music some nights, perhaps targeting bar-area folks.
Another setback: the restaurant doesn’t serve coffee or tea but offers soda and wine.