Hula Girl opened last month in the former Aladdin's Eatery in Arlington. The bright and sunny restaurant has 1950's-style polished chrome chairs upholstered in teal and surf boards hanging from the ceiling.
Owner Mikala Brennan, who was born and raised in Hawaii, returned there this summer to research the state's dishes. The restaurant serves some favorites from the food truck like Spam masubi and teriyaki. It added some Hawaiian cocktails and both local and Hawaiian beers.
How does the brick-and-mortar version of Hula Girl compare to the beloved food truck? The restaurant already has 33 Yelp reviews with an overall rating of three and a half stars. Read on for the early word on Hula Girl:
The Long Wait For Food News: Diners have experienced some long wait times for tables, which is always expected with new restaurants. But some have had a long wait for food as well. ARLNow commenter Mandy says, ‘The food was great, but waiting an hour for my food and an hour for a table makes me hesitate to go there again." Yelper AG S. writes, "I am still waiting for the mai tai and fried rice I ordered. The bartender has yet to notice that I am without food or drink - about an hour and counting." [ARLNow, Yelp]
The Deconstructed Loco Moco News: ARLNow commenter Koshka says the Loco Moco (a Hawaiian dish of an egg served over a hamburger patty and rice) is "pretty great." Yelper Lauren W. also says it was "great" and even better than what she had in Oahu. But Yelper Gwendolyn D. thinks they should rename it, 'Deconstructed LocoMoco' because the rice was served on the side. [ARLNow, Yelp]
The Incredible Root Beer Ribs News: Facebook user Sarah Jean Kelly says the ribs are "incredible" and another user, Cary Kelly, says they’re "fab." Yelper Guillermo C. has mixed emotions and writes, "The spare ribs were delicious but little meat and overpriced." Yelper Jake K. agrees. with him. [Facebook, Yelp]
The Undercooked Food News: A few diners complained of a whole range of undercooked items. Yelper Jeeper J. says the teriyaki chicken was undercooked and Yelper Kevin D. wishes his fries were cooked longer. Yelper Dani A. complains that the pasta in the mac salad was al dente and Jon B. had a similar problem with the rice. [Yelp]
The Lomi Salmon Was Not Lomi Salmon News: Facebook user Julie Chiang Rivera writes, "...when I was in Hawaii as a kid, I didn't know the lomi salmon was raw. I don't normally eat raw fish but it was really good." Yelper Lance O. writes, "it was more poke than lomi salmon (normally lomi salmon has a lot of tomatoes and onions and just a little bit of salmon)." Yelper Tracy Hanayo O. writes, "The lomi salmon was not lomi salmon...It was salmon poke and the quality of the salmon was suspect. " [Facebook, Yelp]
The What Hawaiians Think News: Yelper Dani A. writes, "I think if you're from Hawaii and grew up with local food, this place would suffice if you're really craving it, but it'll probably disappoint." Yelper Rick P. says "Amazing experience. Thought I was back in Hawaii," and Facebook user Kisha Williams, who moved away from Hawaii, says she'll definitely be a regular at the restaurant. [Yelp, Facebook]
The Overpriced Food News: Facebook user Todd Price writes, "while some items are well worth the cost (loco moco, spam musubi), others are way overpriced (cocktails, garlic shrimp)." Yelper Len P. says, "The FOOD was obviously overpriced for what they served," and Yelper Lee I. agrees. [Facebook, Yelp]
The Orgy in Your Mouth News: Instagrammer @yaileen_machine says of the North Shore Shrimp, "it’s like an orgy in your mouth," while Instagrammer @amyhtuhtu simply adds "om nomz." Yelper Alan W. writes, " The garlic shrimp was probably the best." [Instagram, Yelp]
The Tasty Grilled Fresh Mahi Mahi News: Yelper Edith W. writes, "Had a tasty grilled fresh mahi mahi plate with rice, really fresh, good salad and slaw, yummy sauce. " Yelper Kevin D. says the fish was "good," but Yelper Lily L. says hers was "overcooked." [Yelp]
The Varying Portion Size Opinions: Thoughts on the portion sizes are across the board. Yelpers Kisha W. and Sioux T. say the portions were large, but Yelper Elmo writes, "Overall, the portions were a bit small and pricey, but the food was tasty. " [Yelp]