Reid, 20. July 2007, 15:55

Helena’s (School Street; across from Mitsu-Ken)

This is a Hawaiian food place that I’ve seen for a while, but I never really heard anything about it. Recently, I read a review about their really good squid luau, and one of the secretaries at Farrington said this was her favorite Hawaiian food place.

The verdict? The squid luau is ono. It’s definitely the best I’ve had (except for maybe one homemade version from a friend). In addition to the squid luau, we got the chicken long-rice, short-rib pipikaula, lau-lau, kalua pig, poi/rice and haupia. The chicken long-rice was good, especially if you like your long-rice gingery. They had the right amount of salt and didn’t skimp on chicken. I’m a short-ribs fan, and so I really enjoyed the pipikaula treatment. Basically, the ribs were like kal-bi except without the sugar and garlic (I think). I was happy with the lau-lau because I thought they were going to be smaller. The pork was tasty, although it overpowered the fish. The luau life wasn’t that great either, but not bad by a longshot. (Yama’s and Young’s still have the best.) The kalua pig was solid, too. The menu says they cook it in an imu, but I thought I detected that liquid smoke taste. Whatever it was, I liked it. The haupia was good, but it was a bit jello-y, and lacked the afterkick that is in the best haupia I’ve had, the one at Yama’s. The whole meal came out to about $26, and we were pretty full.

Helena’s serves combination plates, but none of them have lau-lau. Anyway, this is definitely one of the better Hawaiian food places out there, especially for their squid luau. Oh, I forgot to talk about that. Basically, they get the right balance of coconut milk and whatever other flavors in there. You can tell they take care in their cooking here, which is a good sign.

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