Say Aloha to Tasty Fare at Everett Eatery
By Scott Gorman
Herald Restaurant Critic
EVERETT -- Once you get off the tourist trails and actually live among Hawaiians, you’ll find them among the nicest and most accommodating people anywhere. Children call every adult Uncle or Auntie, people smile in greeting and the abundant cuisine of the islands is shared happily with friends and strangers at the drop of a lei.
Sot it is at Bobby’s Hawaiian Style Restaurant, where the food of the islands is prepared and presented with a good deal of authenticity and style. A family restaurant in the true sense, where an Uncle makes the delicious kim chee and everyone not in school that day lends a hand, it is a calm and pleasant place for a bargain-price meal.
Bobby’s is located in the handsome space on Hewitt Avenue that housed Passport years ago, and more recently was the home of a Philippine restaurant that went under despite more than decent food.
The long, narrow room is dominated by interior brick, now augmented by colorful swatches of cloth under glass table tops, beach torches and Hawaiian theme paintings and murals on the walls, and a palm behind the bar. It’s especially nice on a sunny afternoon when the sun spills through the large central window.
Hawaiian-style plate lunches ($5.50-$7.50) give diners good value, with rice and the ever present macaroni salad crowding plates filled with roast pork, barbecue chicken and beef and deep-fried pork cutlets, among other choices. Brimming bowls of broth with saimin noodles ($4.24/$5.25) and wonton soup ($4.75/$5.75) are warming and filling.
Burgers served with fries are available as well ($3.50-$4.50), chicken and pork burgers among them. Instead, I took advantage on a recent visit of a nice feature of Bobby’s menu: the small plates of appetizers one can order to try a wider range of Hawaiian dishes.
The lomi salmon ($2) was a lot like ceviche; barely cooked salmon in a rice vinaigrette, with onions, green onions and tomatoes. Very good, and very refreshing.
Next up was laulau ($3.75) chunks of pork wrapped in taro leaf and then steamed. The result is a flavorful, tender and juicy, seasoned primarily by just its own juices and the mild and slightly woodsy flavor of the taro leaf.
The root of the same plant is the basis of a Hawaiian staple that I tried next. Poi ($2.50) is an acquired taste that I’ve never grown warm to, while acknowledging its central importance as a sustaining starch. But since I don’t love to eat it, I won’t, saving that much more for those who do.
The last small dish was a mild disappointment, which was my own fault. While I thought I was ordering a flavored rice dish when I asked for the “chicken long rice” ($2), it turned out to be a traditional name for rice noodles in chicken broth. The dish was pleasant enough, and the silky noodles were very good, but the over-salted broth did not taste homemade, which almost everything else is here.
Bobby’s has something different, serves it in a friendly and calm atmosphere and holds faith with the traditional cuisine it represents. I’ll be back.
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