Bobby’s Hawaiian Style
By Providence Cicero
Special to The Seattle Times
EVERETT -- Some restaurants are born from an old hunger, a longing for food that transports you to a long ago or far away home, and that's the case with Bobby's Hawaiian-Style restaurant.
Bobby Nakihei took advantage of a job-retraining program to move his family from Honolulu to Seattle in 1989. But the bookkeeping course he completed didn't lead to a career crunching numbers, mostly because of his aversion to wearing coats and ties anywhere except to church.
Hours: Mondays-Thursdays 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fridays-Saturdays 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Major credit cards / No smoking / No liquor / No obstacles to access / Live music on weekends
For years he drove a school bus, but he dreamed of opening a restaurant that would serve the Hawaiian food he missed: lomi salmon; kalua pork; laulau; poi; macaroni salad; Spam; and loco moco, a hamburger steak topped with brown gravy and two eggs sunny side up. When he least expected it, Nakihei says, he found the perfect spot, and 14 months ago he opened Bobby's.
1909 Hewitt Ave., Everett
Bright lights and alohas welcome patrons to the modest brick-walled Everett storefront made festive with plastic flowers, a tropical fish tank and a display of Hawaiian tchotchkes for sale. If Bobby's not greeting at the door, he's either out on a catering job or up on the bandstand, where a trio in flowered shirts entertains on weekends, playing Hawaiian melodies on ukulele and guitars (that's Bobby on bass). Sometimes, if the spirit moves her, Bobby's daughter may kick off her sandals and do the hula, graceful even in ripped blue jeans.
The cook is Bobby's niece, his wife and daughter work out front, and there seems to be no shortage of other family members pitching in if the pace quickens.
When the small room overflows with families, Bobby's is as cheery as a church supper. Kids are content to slurp a bowl of noodles ($4.75) or chow down on a plate of French fries with fried fish filets ($5.25) or a burger ($4.50), delighted to choose their own bottle of pop or juice from the refrigerated case. Pupus (appetizers) run $2-$3 each, and lunch and dinner plates are a deal, too. None costs more than $8, and all are served Hawaiian-style — with two scoops of rice and one of macaroni salad.
Hawaiian Plate: You have a choice of laulau or kalua pork; the former is an aromatic, tender hunk of pork steamed in taro leaves, the latter is oven-roasted to an unbelievably soft texture and shredded. With it comes chicken long rice (long rice noodles in chicken broth), lomi salmon (the salt-cured raw fish is shredded and mixed with diced tomato and green onion), rice and macaroni salad.
Bento Box: Definitely for the undecided: heaped with barbecue chicken, ribs, fish and shrimp with the requisite scoops of rice and mac salad on the side. Hot and crispy, the fish and shrimp are nonetheless the frozen commercial kind. Chicken, a tender, flattened piece of meat moistened with a sweet-edged sauce, is good, but best by far are the savory little racks of Korean-style kal-bi short ribs. Next time I'm getting a whole plateful.
Itemized bill, meal for two
Hawaiian plate: $7.95
Bento Box: $7.95
Two sodas: $2.50
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