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Thread: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Admin, I did a search on plate lunches and only got "where's the best plate lunch" sort of general questions.

    So now it's time to dissect and critique EACH popular local style plate lunch entree from top to bottom! You know the common selections: Chicken Katsu, Beef Stew, Beef Curry, Chili Dog, Fried Chicken, Mochiko Chicken, Teriyaki Beef, Mahimahi, Hamburger Steak, Hawaiian Plate, to name a few. Of course, always served with 2 scoops rice and mac' salad. Be still my beating heart.

    This time we'll start with Hamburger Steak, which is my friend's "plate lunch gauge" on whether a place is good or bad. If they can make a good hamburger steak plate lunch, then they're approved in his opinion. lol Really, how can you screw up Hamburger Steak? It's all in the gravy of course. But the patty has to be good too. Not a hockey puck, yet not too fancy or it doesn't have the "cheap romance" a plate lunch is signature for. lol

    So here's da' sample...


    Pongo's Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch
    100% ground sirloin patty (no fillers)
    $7.50

    Witness the large, single oval-shaped burger patty. It's covering one (of the 2) scoops of rice. The chopped parsley adds a nice visual touch, yet I think Furikake on the rice would have sealed the deal for me. Lots of onions in there. Yum. Gravy looks thick 'n rich. According to him, the patty was moist, not dried out. Plus it had a char-grilled flavor - a must! The gravy had good depth and infused hamburger steak flavor. The rice and Mac was standard fare. Nothing to write home (or here) about (even though I just did). Interestingly, Pongo's used to have a lunchwagon, which he preferred over the restaurant on this order. Still, he gave it a thumbs-up of approval.

    What's missed is the "true" paper plate (Chinet) with the wax paper liner, all rubber-banded up... something that gave old school plate lunch stands such as the former Kewalo (Kanda's) Lunch Wagon the nostalgic romance of Hawaii's plantation yesteryears.

    Any hamburger steak plate lunch stories or issues? Where's the best? This is the thread to share it. This thread is only about Hamburger Steak plate lunches, made local style. Who said it was a "steak" anyway? lol The Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch is simply comfort food at its best.

    Coming next: Chicken Katsu Plate Lunch (and boy, do I have >sauce< issues with that one!)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Mahalo Drive Inn on Young Street will team up Hamburger Steak with BBQ Chicken for it's Saturday special and with Chicken Katsu for it's Monday special. I can't remember the other daily specials but I know for sure not all of them combine them with the Hamburger Steak.

    The daily specials sell for under $6. The Hamburger Steak is kind of decent, no external onions being served, the brown gravy sort of taste like how coffee smells and they serve two patties in the daily specials.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Making me hungry as usual with the heartstopping stuff....That looks supa ono. Sucks that I can't get that around here.

    Of course, I may live a little longer because of that

  4. #4

    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    The best hamburger steak I've had was at, oddly enough, Formaggio's wine bar in the Market City shopping center. Formaggio's is the kind of upscale trendy place you'd think wouldn't even carry lowbrow stuff like hamburger steak, but they put sort of a sophisticated gourmet spin on it. I find that it works brilliantly.

    My runner up would be the sizzling hamburger steak plate at Dot's in Wahiawa. (They have 2 different hamburger steak plates; be sure to order the sizzling one.) The serving is HUGE, and I as already feel guilty enough for ordering a hamburger steak in the first place, the size of Dot's serving makes it a bit too much for me.
    Last edited by zff; February 4th, 2007 at 10:58 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Not a plate lunch, but I'm a big fan of the hamburger steak at Kenny's Restaurant in Kalihi. Helen, I know you love that combo at Mahalo's, but man, it's mediocre at best. You go there for the value, admit it.
    But I'm disturbed! I'm depressed! I'm inadequate! I GOT IT ALL! (George Costanza)
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Ive made this a few times for my husband, used recipes from alohaworld.com he usually requests loco moco, all the haoles up here in his command (military) look at him like their nuts. Their like what is that?? My husbands like food why.. funny. Man that sounds yummy right now.. hmmm...


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Quote Originally Posted by scrivener View Post
    Helen, I know you love that combo at Mahalo's, but man, it's mediocre at best. You go there for the value, admit it.
    The BBQ Chicken is what I really like and I think I rather have the Hamburger Steak instead of the Beef Curry that is offered on some other day.

    Value, yeah sure.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    I always enjoy the hamburger steak at Liliha Bakery. Bakery Kapiolani also makes a great one too. I also like the one at Ray's Cafe, but they top it off with teriyaki sauce instead of gravy.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    While I was reading the first post, I swore I smelt the food.

    I need the address!
    How'd I get so white and nerdy?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Quote Originally Posted by doc1456 View Post
    While I was reading the first post, I swore I smelt the food.

    I need the address!
    That would be:

    PONGO'S KITCHEN
    414D Mokauea Street
    Honolulu, Hi 96819
    (Kalihi industrial area)
    Tel. (808) 845-6008

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    you haven't lived until you get a hamburger steak from sueoka's in koloa
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Quote Originally Posted by Pomai View Post
    That would be:

    PONGO'S KITCHEN
    414D Mokauea Street
    Boy, that looks good! I usually don't order hamburger steak plate lunch because it's so easy, so simple, so basic. But that pic tempts me to try Pongo's. I used to work close to that address many years ago.

    The last time I had a hamburger plate was in the mid/late 60's at a place off Aiea Heights Drive, hidden within a residential neighborhood. I can't remember the name. We used to hang out there after class during high school days at Aiea. Man, was that a long time ago.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Quote Originally Posted by Honoruru View Post
    Boy, that looks good! I usually don't order hamburger steak plate lunch because it's so easy, so simple, so basic. But that pic tempts me to try Pongo's. I used to work close to that address many years ago.

    The last time I had a hamburger plate was in the mid/late 60's at a place off Aiea Heights Drive, hidden within a residential neighborhood. I can't remember the name. We used to hang out there after class during high school days at Aiea. Man, was that a long time ago.
    You could easily turn that into an excellent loco moco with a drop of egg on top. Man that would be killer with some kim chee on the side.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Quote Originally Posted by Honoruru View Post
    Boy, that looks good! I usually don't order hamburger steak plate lunch because it's so easy, so simple, so basic. But that pic tempts me to try Pongo's. I used to work close to that address many years ago.

    The last time I had a hamburger plate was in the mid/late 60's at a place off Aiea Heights Drive, hidden within a residential neighborhood. I can't remember the name. We used to hang out there after class during high school days at Aiea. Man, was that a long time ago.
    We used hang at the same place during high school days at AHS during the 70s. The place was called Omiya's. The building was called Aiea Community Store but everyone called it Kanda's with the laundromat.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Quote Originally Posted by na alii View Post
    We used hang at the same place during high school days at AHS during the 70s. The place was called Omiya's.
    My friend said one of the ladies (an aunt?) at Omiya's used to lick the rice off her fingers while she made the cone sushi (aburage) in front of the customers. Then she'd ask, "How many you like?".

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Quote Originally Posted by na alii View Post
    The building was called Aiea Community Store but everyone called it Kanda's with the laundromat.
    That was the name! Kanda's! A comfortable, no-frill, soda fountain-like place. Very popular with Aiea High school kids.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pomai View Post
    My friend said one of the ladies (an aunt?) at Omiya's used to lick the rice off her fingers while she made the cone sushi (aburage) in front of the customers. Then she'd ask, "How many you like?".
    Whoa! Good thing I neva ate the cone sushi. Only plate lunch ... with real plates ... and green river.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    My two favorite Hamburger Steaks are from Spot's Drive-In on Dillingham by HCC and Kakaako Kitchen. If you're really hungry, order the Hambureger Steak as part of Spot's "Mega-Plate"

  18. #18

    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Dot's sizzling hamburger steak is good, but it's been downsized. Not as big as it used to be. Still ono. Still a great deal that includes a drink, tossed salad or soup and dessert.

    Alas, Uncle Ron's on Mango St. closed. See that styro container in the pic? Their steak used to cover the whole thing. 2 lbs. to start. You had to eat through to the rice and mac salad. The loco moco used to be the same. I think there's still a place in Kailua that sells a similar HS plate. Great if you don't have a cholesterol problem.

    Just went to Tsukenjo's on Friday after a decade, having moved out to Wahiawa. Same crew, same great large mix with HS and roast pork. Wife and daughter couldn't finish their lunches. Mel had the HS. 2 huge patties and lots of real gravy, no fillers. I only had enough room for the tossed salad and the meat.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Quote Originally Posted by tvguy View Post
    My two favorite Hamburger Steaks are from Spot's Drive-In on Dillingham by HCC and Kakaako Kitchen. If you're really hungry, order the Hambureger Steak as part of Spot's "Mega-Plate"
    I believe that SPOT'S took over the space from GRACE'S DRIVE-INN. Grace's "empire" once included Moiliili (Beretania St. near Star Supermarket), downtown (Alakea St.), Waipahu, and Dillingham (now Spot's), in addition to their current locations in Makiki (next to Time's Supermarket), Kapahulu (Market City, across Kaimuki HS), and Aiea (Moanalua Road, near the Newtown driving range). Oh, I remember their lunchwagon on Metcalf Street next to the YMCA across UH. Those were the days when their plate lunches ranged from $0.50-0.85.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Yesterday, I was in town and tried for the HB steak plate lunch from PONGO'S. Alas, no parking anywhere reasonably close by, so I headed over to SPOT'S. The burger was tasty and had grill marks on the good-sized patty. I also enjoyed the onions, but the gravy was only so-so as it seemed to be a more bland corn starch-based concoction and needed more pan drippings for flavor. PONGO'S darker gravy seems more palatable.

    I prefer the larger single patty over the two or three smaller ones offered by most other places, although Rainbow's threesome are very tasty.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Hawaii Kai has limited plate lunch resources, which include L&L, Loco Moco Drive Inn and Zippy's. But the last place you'd expect to find a plate lunch is at The Shack, which is known more for American classics such as burgers, sandwiches, ribs and steak than "2 scoops mac salad and rice" fare.

    Well this past weekend, we sampled this...


    The Shack Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch, $7.25

    You know what? This was really good! This certainly breaks their mold as a "burger joint" and widens their appeal. Perhaps Teddy's and Kua Aina oughta' consider doing HS as well.

    Witness the grill marks on their newly touted 100% angus beef 1/4 lb. patties (x2), the same patties they use for their burgers, which carried on that signature char-grilled (open gas flame) flavor.

    The brown gravy had "meaty" depth (like Pongo's), not "cornstarch'ish" as mentioned above, and topped with plenty of sweet saut&#233;ed onions.

    The mac salad was simple and creamy, pretty much similar to Zippy's in flavor. And they gave a HEAP of it.

    The white rice was perfectly steamed and also more like two "over-scoops".

    A nice touch is the bed of shredded cabbage underneath, which adds a third dimension of texture to the overall dish.

    The dine-in version is served on a (large) porcelain oval plate, which provides that "home-cooked" appeal and also keeps the food warm longer. The take-out version is served in the standard styro' clamshell box.

    If you're a Hamburger Steak fan, The Shack's version is a must-try.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    There's a THE SHACK in Mililani, so I'll check them out.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    That's IT! I'm at the HK SHACK tomorrow for HS takeout on my way to work.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    Got the HB steak plate lunch from THE SHACK in Mililani the other day. Very tasty, especially the gravy and onions which complemented the grilled patties.

    The only thing I didn't care for was the mac salad, which didn't look like the scoop in Pomai's photo.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch

    I would have reported on mine by now, but I haven't had a chance to go. Maybe next week sometime. Even though I'm not a construction worker or a biker, I think they'll still sell me an HB plate to go.

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