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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, October 4, 2002

School Street spot has great garlic chicken

By Matthew Gray
Advertiser Restaurant Reviewer

Right, Cheryl Wong assembles a take-out garlic chicken plate lunch at Mitsu-Ken. The restaurant is at 1223 N. School St.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

This month's restaurants include a highly regarded plate lunch spot on School Street, an old-time bakery/take-out shop in Kaimuki, and a new all-you-can-eat pizza place across from the University of Hawai'i-Manoa.

1223 N. School St.
4:30 a.m.-1 p.m. weekdays
4:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays

Garlic chicken ($4.50) is the ticket here; just ask anyone who's ever tasted it. It's mainly large fried pieces of thigh-meat, which is then tossed with a mildly garlicky sauce. There's a crunchy chewiness to the end product that some people find addictive.

The shoyu chicken ($4.50) is also quite good, striking a fine balance of sweet and savory flavor, with two large thighs serving as the meat portion of this plate. The 'ahi plate ($5.50) is worth a dollar more than the other plates if you enjoy the denseness of fully cooked 'ahi.

Other plates ($4.50 each) include beef curry, beef stew, fried chicken, hamburger steak, pork tofu sweet-sour ribs, and teri beef. All plates come with two scoops of rice and one scoop of potato-macaroni salad.

If the nonstop line of hungry customers flowing to the doorstep doesn't sell you on this place, the food surely will. It sells large orders for parties, too.

Mamo's Pizza
1810 University Ave.
11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays

Opened last spring, this all-you-can-eat pizza buffet is across the street from the UH-Manoa campus. The pizza buffet costs $4.99; if you want salad with it, the cost is $5.99.

The pizza is fresh but dryish, and not extremely flavorful. Fortunately, the price is right, and there are a bunch of condiments (parmesan cheese, Italian herb seasoning, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, etc.) to up the taste index. There were about five different types of pie when I visited, with pepperoni, sausage and fresh tomato among the choices.

The salad bar, while not overflowing with the garden's bounty, offers lettuce, cucumbers, onions, tomato, carrot, beets, jalapeno peppers, three-bean salad, croutons and more.

Next door to Mamo's is Volcano Joe's, a new coffeehouse under the same ownership.

Kwong On
3620-A Wai'alae Ave.
7 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays

If you look up "hole-in-the-wall" in the dictionary, Kwong On will likely be one of the definitions offered up. This Kaimuki storefront in no way hints at the hidden pleasures that lie beyond its threshold. Unless you heard from a friend about this place, you probably wouldn't know of its existence.

Inside, you'll see a bustling early-morning, exclusively take-away business of Chinese delicacies and bakery items. They make wonderful fried rice, manapua, chow fun, and (my personal favorite) curry half-moons, a deliciously flaky meat-filled pastry.

Kwong On is a must-try. But get there early, because many times, by noon you'll be out of luck.

Reach Matthew Gray at mgray@honoluluadvertiser.com.