Food & Drink: Aloha Grill

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Spam Musubi.

It’s become entirely cliché to say, but… these are unprecedented times. We face a statewide restaurant shutdown due to spiking COVID-19 numbers in Oregon that puts in peril many businesses’ futures, but more so threatens the lives of so many people nationwide. This column was born of this pandemic- to revitalize and reenergize local restaurants affected during this trying time. As a 25+ year veteran of the industry, I ask for your continued support for these restaurants. But, more importantly, I ask that you take care when you patronize these establishments whether for “pick-up” or, maybe by printing, “dine-in” service by wearing a mask upon arrival, while away from your table and in the presence of your server- for their safety and yours! 

Aloha Grill

My affinity for Hawaii started at an early age. Growing up in NYC made me pine for that tropical paradise. Sadly, I’ve never been. My love for Hawaiian food, however, started at a Portland food cart on a visit before we moved here. And, I’ve enjoyed the amazing cuisine on numerous occasions around the country ever since. Which is exactly why I was so pleased to find Aloha Grill, where they proudly do Hawaiian Food right! 

Garlic Shrimp.

The menu, at first, can be daunting, with an array of unique and traditional names. Relax- with this island fare, seamlessly blending simplicity and hardiness, Asian influences and the flair of “tropicality,” you cannot go wrong- especially at Aloha Grill. My “go-to” is and always has been the Loco Moco- originally created as a workingman’s lunch, starts on a bed of rice, topped with two burger patties, two fried eggs, then a slathering of sumptuous brown gravy. A fantastic melding of flavors- beefy, savory, starchy and rich- made even more so by popping the delicate yolk into the gravy.  

However, do not miss their Spam Musubi- an umami bomb of grilled Spam, rice, a dash of soy, wrapped in Nori- the original protein bar. Or, Manapua, literally “pork cake,” an ode to Bao filled with Char-sui style pork, inspired by Hawaii’s large Chinese population. Or any, and I mean any, of their Combo Plates featuring: tender Kalua pork, salty/sweet Teri beef, and tempura fried Chicken Katsu, to name a few, in numerous mouth-watering iterations.  

I am steadily working my way through the entire menu- Garlic Shrimp catching my eye for next time- as they stay open seven days a week for take-out, during these trying times. I hope to complete it by yearend. So, stop by to see the great staff at Aloha Grill, and experience the amazing (local) taste of the islands they’ve been cooking up for over 30 years…it just may make you long for a Hawaiian getaway.

Aloha Grill is open seven days a week. Monday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sunday 12 – 6 p.m. Open for carryout, delivery and small catering orders as of press time. (503) 612-9091. Call ahead and they’ll have it ready. 19267 SW Martinazzi Ave – www.alohagrillor.com.