Finding a good Hawaiian joint isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but finding one that isn’t a chain can be very difficult. We all know that we can go to a branch of Ono and get decent barbeque, macaroni salad and spam. But if we want something a little more home-cooked, that isn’t served in plastic trays, which basically doesn’t feel like fast-food, where do we go?
The answer of locals is New Flavors, a restaurant right on the edge of Los Angeles bordering Culver City that serves both Chinese cuisine and wonderful Hawaiian barbeque. We’ll have to go back and try the Chinese dishes, because it both looked and smelled amazing.
But we were super-excited that there’s a place nearby serving authentic Hawaiian dishes, on plates no less. We were confused when we arrived and parked at the back, and were greeted by a security guard checking that we were indeed going to New Flavors and not just filling up their parking spaces. There were three tables in use in the restaurant – is a security guard necessary at lunchtime? No matter, the staff (including that security guard) were friendly enough and, when we were seated, we were presented with a small salad, some crispy noodles with a sweet dip, and the menu. That’s a nice touch.
But wow, when the food arrives, it’s glorious. We went for the Loco Moco, a Hawaiian favorite that features two beef patties on steamed rice, with two fried eggs and brown gravy. That might sound like an odd combo, but hear us out: When the eggs burst and the runny yolk mixes with the gravy and burger grease and then you let that soak into the rice, there are few better flavors. Healthy? Oh no. Not even a little bit. But good enough to write a penned letter to your mother about? Absolutely.
The patties are perfectly cooked: tender and well-seasoned. The rice is sticky and delicious, and the eggs are ideal – runny on the inside but not on the outside. And the gravy is thick and meaty. We can’t say enough great things about this dish.
It’s served with some cabbage, which allows us to pretend that we’re eating a healthy balanced meal, and classic Hawaiian macaroni salad, which is creamy and just the right amount of tart.
The meal is less than $10, which amazing based on the quality, and the size of the portion. It’s a heavy dish, and you might end up taking some home (or you might not because it’s so good – no judgement here), but that just means you have a good lunch the next day.
Everything about our New Flavors experience was pleasurable, and we’ll be back for those Chinese dishes.