Shaka Restaurant - Na'alehu, Hawaii
Billed (self-proclaimed) as the most Southern bar in the USA, this restaurant's claim to fame is probably true, especially since South Point is 500 nautical miles farther south than Florida.
Attracted more by the sign than anything else, I had an idea that Shaka's would be a fun place to eat. As we pulled into the parking lot, there was just one other car parked in the lot, way off to the side.
Stepping inside the restaurant, we were escorted by our waitress over to the bar area and given a booth right near the windows. I was surprised to discover that four of the other booths were already occupied. Filled with wood furniture and tile flooring, Shaka's felt a bit homey and it reminded me of my aunt's dining room circa 1975.
After looking over the menu that consisted of stuff like sandwiches, salads, burgers and a few Tex-Mex style dishes, I decided to have a Shaka's basket. I ordered the cheeseburger with french fries (US$7.00).
All the burgers are served with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles and all baskets are served with french fries or home fries.
When this basket was brought to the table, I felt like I had made a good choice -- a nice sized hamburger patty, melted cheese, a thick slice of tomato, lots of lettuce, a couple pickle chips and some red onions made up this monstrous looking cheeseburger.
Here it comes...
The verdict? The bun was light and fluffy, but the patty was dry and almost flavorless -- it seemed as though the patty hadn't been seasoned. In fact, we turned to each other in mid-bite, to see if the other of us felt the same way (we did). Even when I added ketchup to the burger, it had very little, if any, effect on the burger's overall flavor. The fries on the other hand, were done well. Light, crisp and free of grease, the fries arrived at the table hot and salt-free.
My friend had a Shaka's basket as well - this was the mushroom and onion burger with home fries (US$7.50).
Although the burgers looked good when they arrived at the table, we were in for quite a surprise when we actually bit into them. The food here was quite a disappointment, but the service was a different story. The waitress was helpful and friendly, and she stopped by every few minutes to refill our glasses and to chat. The food here was definitely not worth the price, but when you're practically out in the middle of nowhere, you don't really have much choice now, do you?
95-5673 Mamalahoa Highway