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“Oh yeah, something different!”
Review of Kalua Hawaiian BBQ & Seafood - CLOSED

Kalua Hawaiian BBQ & Seafood
Cuisines: Hawaiian
Restaurant details
Des Moines, Iowa
Level 5 Contributor
47 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Oh yeah, something different!”
Reviewed 1 February 2013

Visited Cedarburg for the night and saw this new restaurant. We wanted fish. Partner had the fish fry, battered in tempura. He loved the unique tartar sauce and said fish was crispy/tasty. I had the mahi mahi tacos; they were extremely fresh and yummy with panko breadcrumbs, cilantro, and jalapeno. Next time I'll get jalapeno on the side--a little too spicy for me. I also loved my salad with ginger dressing. Now, the dessert was awesome. It was cheesecake in a crispy shell with strawberry sauce...so good. We will go again.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank feelingbeachy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

9 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Orlando, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
76 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Disapointing on all fronts”
Reviewed 11 January 2013

I was looking forward to going to Kalua because it offered a new and unique dining experience in the area. The owners, obviously, have never heard of the expression "You only have one chance to make a good first impression". I get the feeling they are trying to operate with a skeleton staff and add workers as business improves. Sadly, I do not feel they will get that chance.

After being seated our group of five ordered a selection of tropical drinks. The drinks came in pairs over about 5 minutes time. I think the waitress had to make them in addition to her other tasks. They were mostly crushed ice and quite weak.

We placed out orders and once again it was delivered in waves. Despite not getting our entrees at the same time, some of the items still looked as if they had been sitting under the heat lamps for quite a while. Some of the food was fine, but two of our entrees were quite bad.

This restaurant had quite a bit of potential. The menu is interesting and our server was friendly. Unfortunately, the execution is horrible. Combine bland, poorly prepared food that is not served fresh off the stove with weak drinks and our party not receiving our food at the same time and you have a complete failure.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Late_Apex_014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richfield, Wisconsin
Level 6 Contributor
156 reviews
122 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Having been to Hawaii...”
Reviewed 6 January 2013

four times over the last several years, perhaps our expectations were too high when we looked forward to trying this new restaurant. We took my daughter to Kalua for her birthday. Kalua doesn't take reservations for parties of fewer than six. Since we had five people, we agreed to meet at 6:30 p.m. on a Friday evening. When my husband and I arrived, the rest of our party was there, and had checked in, but had not been seated. I could see empty tables, so I was confused.

About five minutes later we were seated. About 10 minutes later, our server took our drink, appetizer and meal orders. The two Hawaiian-type drinks arrived about five minutes before the soft drinks. While we were waiting for our dinner order to be taken, I had this ominous feeling... there was a party of four seated to the other side of our table. I mentioned to my husband that I thought it was weird that one person was eating while the other three were not. Observing a bit more, I noticed that the others hadn't finished their meals; they had not yet been served. So, the man was sitting there eating while his companions watched. About five minutes later, two more of the dinners arrived at their table, and about five minutes later, the last one arrived. Some years ago, my husband and I ate at a restaurant in Thiensville, WI that served similarly. We never went back.

Our two appetizers arrived in a timely manner. We ordered the six crab rangoons, which came with the sweet dipping sauce and the "fries," which were served with a wasabi sauce. Both were good, although the fries were dusted with something...we think it was a type of wasabi powder, that made the texture a bit weird.
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We each ordered a different entree. My entree (Orange Planked Salmon) and my brother's arrived first. Everyone told us to eat, as the other entrees weren't forthcoming, and our server, while she filled our water glasses, never said a word about when the rest of our orders might arrive. Two more entrees arrived about eight minutes later. Unfortunately, our birthday girl received her entree last, about five minutes later. She finished the final crab rangoon while she waited.

My brother seemed to enjoy his Teriyaki Boneless ChickenBbreast, although he did comment that it was "nothing special." My husband's Volcano Peppered Beef, although lit up table-side to represent a volcano was bland. He ended up adding some of the hot sauce that was provided on the table. My son-in-law's Bulgogi Beef was OK. He had no complaint. My daughter enjoyed her Banana Leaf-Wrapped Macadamia Crusted Furakake Tilapia when it finally arrived. She liked the fact that it was wrapped in banana leaves. The two scoops of rice that accompanied several of our entrees were very sticky, without a lot of flavor (rice IS served with most entrees at restaurants in Hawaii). The macaroni salad, also a Hawaiian meal staple was non-descript. It was like eating noodles with a bit of mayo on them, flavorless mayo.

We had piled our appetizer plates at the end of the table to make a bit more room for our entrees, and after they'd been there about ten minutes, another of the server team removed them. After finishing our dinners, we sat around talking and eventually my daughter opened her birthday gifts. All in all, a half hour probably passed between the time we finished eating and we paid the check. During this time, we sat with our dirty dishes and appetizer plates in front of us. Icky. Normally, servers attempt to clear too quickly. I can't remember when dirty dishes have set in front of me until I was ready to leave. Even when our server asked if we were interested in dessert, she made no attempt to take the used dishes out of our way.

If you're thinking of going to Kalua, give it a shot. Don't set your expectations too high (although, if you read the FaceBook and other comments, you'd be expecting a taste treat), and write a review. I'll be interested to see what you think.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank divaw0rld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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