Side Street Inn is known for its local Hawaiian ono eats and generally serves what I collectively call “Asian bar food.” There are a variety of dishes, many being fried and some char-grilled, and there are a collection of salads and poke or sashimi to balance it all out. For the most part, many of the dishes, mostly the meat ones, are packed with flavor, and I think probably goes best with a good amount of beer to wash it all down. No one in my family, except for my brother, drinks beer, and he didn’t even end up coming with us. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean the food is any less tasty without the alcohol. It really hits the spot when you are craving some Hawaiian comfort.
The original location in the heart of Honolulu isn’t super convenient for parking and is located down this small street that is more like a back alley way. They do offer valet oarking which is nice. Inside takes you back to an old school 80’s diner decked out with vinyl covered seats, sticky tables and random lighted signs flashing Budweiser and other beers. There are multiple flat screen TV’s throughout and a bar area which makes it look like a 21 and over sports bar, but it is actually relatively family friendly.
The Side Style Fried Rice tasted pretty typical with char siu, Portuguese sausage & bacon, peas, carrots and green onions. It actually wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, but I wonder if it is because we ordered the wrong one. We avoided the “Side Street Works” Fried Rice, because we thought the addition if kim chee would be too spicy for the kids. Unfortunately, I think maybe it was that spicy kick that was missing, and I would recommend ordering that one instead.
The Bone In Kalbi was good and tasted pretty typical to what you would find in most good Korean BBQ restaurants. The meat had an aromatic grilled fragrance with just enough fat to keep it juicy tasting.
The seasoning was spot on, but these deep fried Island Pork Chops didn’t quite live up to its award winning reputation in my opinion. They tasted great, but the meat was a little on the dry side. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy them as much in spite of the umami mix of seasoning coating each pork chop.
Contrary to popular belief, not all poke on this island is good. I wouldn’t have ordered this, but I guess Annoyer can never turn down ordering raw fish. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. He also ordered some ocean clam sashimi (which I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of), but it wasn’t very good anyways. I would recommend keeping to the land loving side of the menu here.
All in all, I think the food is pretty solid. I think we could have ordered better so I think that this particular review may not give Side Street Inn its due justice. The flavors, for the most part, worked well, and are probably worth the visit if you’re ever visiting Honolulu.
Side Street Inn
1225 Hopaka St.
Honolulu, HI 96814
PAFO Ratings for Side Street Inn:
Ambiance 2 stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars