How about "indulge" as defined by Thomas & Maureen – "the act of rising off your gluts at least once a week for fun, games and dining. Let the pampering begin."
We’ll rate Rutt’s Hawaiian Café, Culver City, our first Hawaiian restaurant, 10 hula girls. What a surprise and a bolt from the blue it was to discover this little place with so much personality. Be honest. Did you know that Rutt’s has been in this nondescript block and building since 1976? We take this route consistently and if someone hadn’t pointed the way, we would have missed it. But kapowi! There it is and this food is onolicious, Hawaiian slang for delicious. It broke da mout, slang for so good it breaks the mouth.
Paul Wahba, owner for five years, has an innate sense of what the neighborhood requires in a local café and dishes it up in large portions for breakfast, lunch and now dinner. So good is this food, and so fresh, that when you take some home, it’s just as tasty the next day.
Check out the huge menu that blends interesting and unusual foods from various Asian cultures. Some of the favorites are the Hawaiian Royales, Portuguese Sausage Plate, Hawaiian French Toast made with Kings Hawaiian Bread and Spam Loco Moco (with brown gravy and eggs). We had the Original Hawaiian Royale with Portuguese sausage, Char Sui (Chinese barbecued pork), onions and sprouts, served with a side of teriyaki sauce over rice. There are several varieties of this open-face style, scrambled omelette blending a hodgepodge of delicious goodies. Many menu items come in three sizes (junior, regular and king), but even the small is large, and the large could feed the block.
Rutt’s menu is constantly changing and there are daily specials. Along with the Royale we had wonderful short ribs, the Hawaiian Fried Saimin, a Hawaiian noodle dish, which came with fishcakes, Char Sui, onions and other tasty morsels. Fantastic! Try one of Rutt’s Bowls. The Hawaiian Bowl is a big seller with Char Sui and Portuguese sausage. Some of the other popular dishes include pancakes made from scratch, omelettes, sandwiches and hamburgers.
And guess what? Spam is served up in a variety of ways, and it’s downright good. New on the menu are various shaved ice flavors.
Traditional Hawaiian food might as well be in a different country, so nonconforming it is from standard fare. You will be overjoyed you tried Rutt’s and will add it to your list of local, most-wanted eats. Rutt’s is always packed for breakfast and lunch. Prices are so retro-low that it’s like looking at a menu from another era. Everything on the menu, even the most mega dishes, is under $10. Outside is a charming dining patio. Aloha.
Rutt’s Hawaiian Café is located at 12114 Washington Blvd., in Culver City, (310) 398-6326. A second Rutt’s Hawaiian Café is located in La Puente at 17371 E. Valley Blvd., (626) 839-6312. For more information, visit www.ruttscafe.com.