For some reason, when I heard about Shakas, with its bacon-fried rice and shave ice, I imagined something funky, a little grimy, with some giant tattooed bruthas hanging out in front -- like the places we visited last year on the North Shore. But the Alhambra Shakas isn't like that at all -- it's clean and slick, like a sports bar or California Pizza Kitchen, with modern touches like square black ceramic plates and Kona Hawaiian beer on tap. No matter -- they've got huge plates of Hawaiian grinds, happy hour specials, fruity soju drinks and reasonable prices -- what's not to like? My son, the macaroni salad connoisseur, ate both our portions. He pronounced the kalua pig and cabbage "too smoky," but I thought it was pretty good. Now, that's a fancy plate lunch -- Mochiku chicken, cabbage, macaroni saladThe bacon fried rice, with fish cake strips, bacon and Portuguese sausage, is an awesomely-sized mound that should probably be taken home and consumed very hung over the next day with a fried egg on top and a generous squirt of Sriracha. Other Hawaiian specialties include loco moco, saimin, spam and eggs served all day and spam musubi as well as some slightly healthier dishes like shoyu salmon, Asian peso mahi mahi and Chinese chicken salad. Next time, we'll try the shave ice for sure.
Shakas Hawaiian Flavors (also in Monterey Park)
101 W. Main St.