Monday, March 29, 2010

Island Style Cafe- Tierra Santa

Let me repeat.  There is no good eats near my house.  Especially any asian or island food.  its not like i cant drive 20 or 30 minutes away to go fetch some of my fave asian foods, but dang....sometimes a girl just doesnt want to exert any effort for food.  I had heard about this place from my friend who spent a few years in Hawaii and raved about the authenticity of this place compared to the original Hawaiian eats.  So of course, I made the sojourn to Tierra Santa off the Santo Rd exit on the 52.  The location was relatively easy to find but parking was a bit frustrating.  I didnt eat the food there but the place was cozy and clean.  If you read the website it tells you that they are a family business and that is exactly what you will see when you go there.  Staff was very friendly, especially the female owner.  When am I going to get to the food?!?  Here is their website:

In being the first time here, I ventured in the safe zone and tried their plate lunch special.  This is one of the more popular items I've heard.  It comes with 2 kinds of meat choices (other meat choices arent included in the 2 item price), either rice or potatoes, and macaroni salad.  My meat choices?  Korean chicken and Teriyaki beef.  Overall, all the flavors melded very well.  The potato were seasoned simply and were similar to roasted potatoes for me.  The macaroni salad was awesome...not grossly creamy, pasta cooked to the right softness/ al dente factor, and seemed to have bits of tuna and potato in it too.  At least I think there were potatoes in the macaroni salad although maybe pieces of my potatoes fell into my mac salad?  

A close up of the macaroni salad.  There were bits of carrots in there but it didnt bother me one way or the other.  I usually dont think care for random carrots in most of my foods but I cant recall any negative thoughts on the macaroni salad.  It was overall a very standup salad and went very well to balance out the sweet salty flavors from the meats. 

According to the menu on their website, the Korean Chicken is "a fabulous boneless chicken thigh in Korean marinade".  Im thinking that this is something that tastes much better if eaten in the restaurant.  Flavor was sweet and salty...but texture wasnt very crispy.  Bummer! Again, it may have been a matter of deflating from the steam off the hot food inside of an enclosed food container, but I will admit some disappointment at the texture.  Meat was tender to be sure and well flavored as well. 

Teriyaki Beef.  According to their menu, this was "beef marinated in our soy sauce marinade".  I was hesitant in picking this as my second meat choice since I'm not much of a straight beef kind of girl.  According to the owner, their beef has won a local award for the best tasting Teriyaki Beef recently and so that helped me to make my choice.  Again, seasoning was on point.  But alas, I was disappointed...the meat was very tough to cut up and to eat as well.  The serving was large for the beef (larger than the chicken) but the toughness of the meat made me less excited to eat so much of it.  Thats all I can say about that b/c it brings back my sadness.  Hmph.

Last picture.  This is the potato that comes with plate lunch if you choose over the rice.  I am by no means an expert on island bbq but I cant recall ever being given this option with my plate lunch.  Not that I am complaining as I heart potatoes more than I should.  They appear to be red potatoes with basic seasoning.  I should also mention that they also offer an option to make it more carb free and replace starch with a tossed salad.  

Overall, I would give this place another chance.  It may have been just an off day for them or maybe it was the deterioration of quality due to taking it to go and it sitting in transit for 20 minutes.  Their shaved ice looked delish and the picture of their loco moco (they serve it on a crepe) looks like something hubby would eat.  I would definitely want to try the kalbi as a proper korean girl should on my next visit.  I also would want to try the garlic fried rice! The price is definitely more than I have paid before for island bbq but other people have highly reviewed this place so maybe you pay for the authentic touch.   


  1. hi dd, i actually ate here last november. my gay boyfriend and i went here after watching new moon, ha ha. he and his bf love this place. i had the korean fried chicken and potatoes which i really liked. i'd been meaning to go back one day but i'm hardly in that area. the people there were pretty nice and it seemed like a happening place.

  2. i agree. if i went back, i would get the chicken again with the potatoes and a shaved ice!