Bentley’s Open House safely behind us, six of us descended on Huli Sue’s Barbecue & Grill on the ‘wet side’ of Waimea (as the locals knowingly call it). Waimea town is also known as Kamuela (Samuel in Hawaiian), and is known for it’s beauteous landscape of green rolling hills dotted with cattle, horses and other critters. This pastoral scene is punctuated with farms that grow most of the produce featured in the Kohala Coast resorts and most local restaurants.
Huli Sue’s is located in an old building on Hwy 19, north of the traffic light at the police station intersection. How’s that for some local directions? The building seems as though it could be either an old house or store with some local history, or one of those Parker Ranch outbuildings that was sold and renovated by new owners.
Inside, you are struck by the authenticity of rustic wood floors, tin roof ceilings and gramma’s plates and vintage kitchen utensils hung on the walls. There’s even a (GASP!) taxidermied fish mounted on the wall in the main dining room. A salad bar and dessert/beverage case front the kitchen, which is hidden from view.
An old scale hangs over the counter with a blackboard announcing Huli Sue’s daily market exchange offering to local farmers/gardeners: they will buy produce in exchange for “Huli Bucks” that can be used towards food purchase at the restaurant. I am duly impressed! And if you want to be even more amazed, read their “Goin Green” page on their website. There are more than a few eateries in Hawaii that try to remain faithfully conscious of their kitchen waste and packaging products, but few blow the trumpet on their websites – Bravo, Huli Sue!
Our iced drinks arrived in canning jars – oh so country! A cup of coffee steamed in it’s enamelware mug and saucer, just like grandma’s house!
I was there for BBQ – and several agreed by ordering the BBQ Pork Sandwich with Fries and house made Coleslaw for $10 – a HUGE BARGAIN!! It was a lot of food, and most of us took home at least a half portion. The pork was tender, flavorful, and everything pulled pork should be. The sauce was perfectly piquant and no overkill on the smoke. Sitting on top of the mound of meat was an oversized beer-battered onion ring- was this in lieu of parsley? Never mind – there was silence as each of us devoured our respective rings, licking our fingers in the end. Then there were fries! The coleslaw has a surprising flavor that seems to go with all the bbq flavor.
Tina’s appetizer portioned Crabcake and Tarragon Aioli on Waimea Mixed Greens ($10) had her agreeing that the infamous crabcake lived up to it’s reputation. Featuring more fresh crabmeat than breadcrumbs undoubtedly helped boost the flavor of this crustacean specialty.
The award for most colorful dish of the evening went to Carolyn’s choice of Coconut Chicken Curry with Mango Salsa and Chopped Peanuts ($14). A mound of rice topped with fresh mango salsa hunkered down in the middle of a pond of aromatic and rich curry sauce filled with vegetables, herbs and peanuts. Fortunately, we were allowed a taste and all agreed that she chose well.
No room for the house made Banana Cream Pie, which is rumoured to be spectacular. Next visit…
As we filed out the backdoor, I took a peek at the Ladies Loo just out the rear door – and no surprise that it was spotless! We put our gold stamp on Huli Sue’s – an upcountry surprise! If you get a piece of banana cream pie before I do, leave a comment and let us know what you think.
Huli Sue’s has another location at the Mauna Lani Golf Club,and although the fare is undoubtedly tasty, I am sure that it doesn’t share the charm of this location!
Huli Sues Up Country Waimea
64-957 Mamalahoa Hwy
Kamuela, Hawaii 96743