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Going Back Home in Lahaina

Just like...someone's home.
Just like…someone’s home.

I’ve been to Hawaii once. For a ten hour layover. So, while that island paradise is within the country I have spent most of my life, it is less of a home to me than China and Japan. Yet, I have always been intrigued by the Hawaiian restaurant known as Back Home in Lahaina. Maybe it’s the awesome name that evokes nostalgia for nothing I have any right to be nostalgic about. Or maybe it’s that Hawaiian food is both fascinating and delicious to me. Whatever the reason, I found myself at their Carson location for lunch.

If Back Home in Lahaina wasn’t called Back Home in Lahaina, their restaurant would feel like some fake islandy-kitschy restaurant. But instead, it is simply quaint. I took a look at the menu, and found some delicious-looking Hawaiian specialties, but none so special as the Loco Moco. It’s basically a Hawaiian hamburger, consisting of two eggs and two hamburger patties, served on rice and topped with brown gravy. I asked for my eggs to be fried, since they gave me the option, and also chose wontons as my side instead of salad.

These were a much better option than salad.
These were a much better option than salad.

The result was a monstrously awesome-looking dish. I couldn’t even see the patties as first, until I dug in. Inside I found some decently-seasoned patties, but they were definitely not the highlight of the Loco Moco. In fact, there was no real highlight of the Loco Moco, as the highlight is simply combining such interesting ingredients into a dish that doesn’t taste half bad. I must say, though, that I felt the Loco Moco could have been done better. Granted, I am not Hawaiian and don’t know what it is like to be back home in Lahaina, but this almost felt like a chain-restaurant version of the dish.

Anyway, the wontons were good.

And the Loco Moco certainly wasn’t bad. In fact, any place willing to put such ingredients together gets points from me. I just felt it could have been more than it was.