Return to Dean's Drive Inn

Dean’s Drive Inn – Teriyaki Beef Plate. $9.25

Dean’s Teriyaki Beef Plate was so ono the last time we tried this place, this Friday we decided to have a hana hou encore.

Dean’s Drive Inn has a substantial selection on their everyday and daily specials menu, where for today’s specials, this is what they had to offer….

Which hasn’t changed much from our last visit, except for a couple new dishes and the soups of the day.

Dean’s also continues to be a one-stop-shop, including  your app (the salad or soup), entree, AND dessert…

Getting back to the main dish, Diner A chose the awesome Teriyaki Beef plate shown above, while Diner E decided on trying their 1/3 Pound Maui Burger Deluxe…

Dean’s Drive Inn – 1/2 Pound Maui Burger Deluxe, with Soup, Toss Salad or Fries. $8.25

While yours truly decided to try the Island Fresh Kaku (Barracuda) with Soy Ginger Sauce…

Dean’s Drive Inn – Island Fresh Kaku (Barracuda) with Soy Ginger Sauce, Brown Rice and Portuguese Bean Soup (not shown yet). $9.25

What’s great about Dean’s is the option of choosing either macaroni salad, tossed salad or soup as your side dish. In which both Diner E and myself chose the Portuguese Bean Soup….

Dean’s Drive Inn – Portuguese Bean Soup

Now to answer the ongoing question: how is it?

First let’s peek what’s inside Diner E’s 1/2 Pound Maui Burger Deluxe…

Dean’s Drive Inn – 1/2 Pound Maui Burger Deluxe

Diner E noted the patty was seasoned well with plenty of beefy flavor, although he would have preferred it done more medium than medium-well, which is how it arrived on the table. There was an adequate amount of mayonnaise spread on the very fresh bun, which was highly appreciated after having the burger from North Shore Grinds, where the burger bun was on the verge of staleness.

The lettuce, tomato and onions were crispy fresh as well. Summing it up, Diner “Simon Kaukau” E gives his 1/2 Pound Maui Burger Deluxe from Dean’s Drive Inn 2 SPAM Musubi.

Moving on to the Portuguese Bean Soup…

Good body with a silky smooth texture. The broth is a little “meaty”, but more tomato-like. It did lack one very important flavoring component that defines a good local style Portuguese Bean Soup, and that would be smoked hamhocks, which I couldn’t detect any hint of. It did have a generous amount of “goodies” in it, including tender macaroni noodles, potatoes, cabbage, small chunks of Portuguese sausage, and of course the tender Kidney beans.

Even without the hamhock-based stock, I’m still giving this PBS a really ono 3 SPAM Musubi. Add the hamhocks and I’d give it a 4 or 5.

Next let’s sample my Island Fresh Kaku…

To be honest I’ve never had Kaku (Barracuda) before, therefore I was expecting it to taste similar to Ono (Wahoo) just because they look similar (as a live game fish), and you know what? I was right! Very similar flavor, texture and color.

As you see in the photo above, Dean is very generous in covering it with finely minced ginger, which is A-OK with me! Love ginger. It was cooked more medium-well, where you know me how I tend to like fish more medium-rare. It also didn’t have enough shoyu in the sauce, tasting more like just an infused ginger-oil “sauce”. I was also hoping it was going to be grilled, not sauteed, which it was the latter. Still delicious and worth a solid 2 SPAM Musubi rating.

Finally we once again have a plate of Dean’s AMAZING Teriyaki Beef, this time for Diner A to savor every bite…

Notice Dean’s Teriyaki beef steak is cut thick – not the more traditional thin cut you normally see at plate lunch stands. It’s also incredibly tender, with the koge (charred) edges in all the right places.

What seals the deal here is Dean’s AWESOME Teriyaki sauce, that has bit of charred “speckles” infused in it. See here how it just glistens with perfect thickness, coating this piece of beef…

See the charred bits of “goodness” floating in the sauce? That my friends = Supah Ono, broke-da-mout’ Flavah! So tender, so beefy, so good, with a perfect sugar-to-shoyu ratio. This has got to be one of, if not THE BEST Teriyaki Beef Plate on the island. Seriously.

Not leaving the other all-important side to a great Teriyaki Beef, we have Dean’s Macaroni Salad…

Another triumph in all its simplicity, and seasoned just right. Money.

Diner A was so awestruck at the deliciousness of Dean’s Teriyaki Beef Plate, he quickly declared it a very, very, very solid 5 SPAM Musubi, polishing the plate to prove it…


In fact, he loved it so much, he actually wanted more even after finishing that entire regular-sized plate. Wow!

That’s it. Next time we stop by Dean’s Drive Inn, I got dibs on the Teriyaki Beef!

Dean’s Drive Inn
Adon Plaza
45-773 Kamehameha hwy.
Kaneohe, HI  96744

Tel. 247-1300

Business hours*:
Sun – Thurs. 11am to 6pm
Fri 11am to 4pm
Sat closed
*Hours and days subject to change.

The Tasty Island rating:

(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Supah’ Ono!)


12 thoughts on “Return to Dean's Drive Inn

  1. Pomai, this place not bad not like your last entry on Ali Grill Lunch Wagon. Like Kimo said drowning with gravy is true at time. I like Dean food. Love the kaku with ginger it always with my order.

    I will try Patty recipe for easy Beijing Duck with pancake. I love duck.

    Yes T.O.W. was great and romantic but not yet for me till the time is right I feel too young to settle down yet. Got to save up nest egg first.

  2. Pomai, darn too young is what he wrote ! No comment I know him but you can guess. Ha Ha. Look like it time for all women to do the asking instead of waiting . Women ended up at time with nothing and disappointment. Men this a world culture that women should be ask and wait. yes I did enjoy T.O.W. and should order most expensive if I knew that would happen.

    Now I will head to Dean for a kaku and a carrot cake to cheer me up.

  3. Maybe the only question Aaron ask to Erica was “What you want to have on the menu?” That one question I always get on date too. But who know maybe since you and Aaron like Dean Drive Inn that could be the place. If it so KICK HIM! Ha Ha. Yes small island HomeGirl.

    Now I like to try the kaku also will be going soon maybe run into someone I know too.

  4. Pretty interesting . I would not pop the most important question at Dean Drive Inn. Maybe Mcdonald yet no not there also. My woman would kick me for sure too. Now they did it all this of Kaku made me want some now. Got to bring her some with a red velvet cupcake too.

  5. I was staring intently at their teri beef sauce, trying to somehow discern their magical recipe. It really looks amazing, and the cuts are nice and thick. That really is the holy trinity – teri beef, scoop rice, scoop mac salad.

  6. Pomai, other food on the menu I could find in other places too. But all comments on Kaku made me want to check Dean Drive Inn out when back in town and try their shortbread with azuki bean filling look so only found in Hawaii. along witfh kaku dish.

    I see you got some interesting comments from other bloggers and Erica should not feel so bad for when I got proposal with now late first husband it was in my apt. kitchen in San Francisco. I could’nt hear what he ask me cooking lunch all I say yes and OK. Which he said great you will marry me! I missed out of a special question he asked me over 20 years ago.

  7. A true red velvet cake use cooked milk frosting .

    3 T. flour
    3/4 c. milk
    3/4 c.sugar
    3/4 c. butter
    1/8 t. salt
    1t. vanilla

    Melt butter add flour and milk slowly with sugar, salt and vanilla cooked and let cool and frost cake.

  8. Pomai, I like to try the taro burger and right now most popular kaku. It seem they are the special dishes that not serve in other places. The reason to head out there for those. The other dishes are found just about everywhere else. In the south red velvet cake is frost with milk frosting not cream cheese frosting. I made that cake long time ago with cooked frosting which is not as sweet as cream cheese frosting much better.

  9. Kelike, you know what? That Taro Burger menu item completely missed my radar. Swoooosh! Darned it! I would have ordered that if I “seen” it! If they still have it, I’m so on that on my next visit!

    Patty, thanks for the Velvet Cake frosting recipe. Sounds delicious.

    As for proposals, the most interesting one yet is reader Nate, who proposed to his then-girlfriend at Waiola Shave Ice. Yup. He placed the engagement ring in a bag, then had the shave ice maker person hide it under the shave ice, right above the ice cream at the bottom of the cone. What a surprise that must have been!

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