Q&Q Hawaiian B.B.Q.
1780 S. Victoria Ave., unit F

In a county with a limited number of truly exotic culinary options, my flavor preference, Q & Q Hawaiian B.B.Q. caught my attention. It was also hard to miss after a delicious and satisfying meal at Poke Land, which has the same owner, and both are located in the same small strip mall off Victoria Avenue in Ventura.

Inside Q&Q Hawaiian B.B.Q.

Inside Q&Q Hawaiian B.B.Q.

It was on a Wednesday afternoon that my companion and I strolled in and were first in line at the walk-up counter to order our meals. The inside is simple, with tables and chairs and a hint of Hawaiian luau theme with tikilike decorations, used only sparingly. The menu is a little overwhelming with such items as the chicken katsu, the loco moco beef, the kaibi short ribs, Spam musubi (my online search engine certainly came in handy) and a healthy variety of noodle soups. While I am not a big meat eater right now, the mahi-mahi and shrimp options proved to be adequate alternatives. I ordered the crab rangoon and panko-crusted mahi-mahi; my companion ordered the pork kahlua special. First up, however, was the kimchee, a particular indulgence that I can’t resist.

At a whopping 75 cents, I just had to try the kimchee, which, while not packed with tear-inducing spice, was mildly sour with enough kick to make my mouth water and crave more than the little ramekin-full I had ordered. As for the crab rangoon, I likened it to that cherry on top of the ice cream sundae. Though not overly sweet, the subtle hint of imitation crab buried in a small dollop of warm cream cheese, deep fried in wonton skins, was not necessary but was a nice little treat.

Next up was the mahi-mahi and kahlua pork. I have to admit that I am a fried food lightweight, so after eating the rangoon I was feeling a bit full. The generous cuts of mahi mahi, with a crispy, nongreasy panko crust, along with two big scoops of soft white rice, a big scoop of macaroni salad and fried vegetables, was a bit too much for me, though I did try to conquer that food mountain. If one is to eat fried fish, you can’t go wrong at Q&Q. It was moist, dense and definitely satisfying. The macaroni salad was surprisingly cheesy. Similar story with the kahlua pork, but I think we were expecting something more sweet and savory, like teriyaki and pineapple. It just wasn’t there for that dish. But it didn’t matter. The shredded pork had a hint of smokiness, marinated in its own juices, cooked just right to veer from that dried texture that happens so frequently with pork. The portion for us was simply too much. If you are on a budget and want to have a nice meal for a family of two or three, one of these main entrees with perhaps some bread or tortillas would surely make for full bellies. And this entire meal, plus two drinks: $27.

If there was one way to boil down my experience, it would be this: If one is sick and tired of measly portions and boring options, Q & Q is here for you and understands your frustrations. Whatever the restaurant lacks in atmosphere, it makes up for in good service and satisfying meals.