We visited Kona Hawaii at the beginning of March 2020 staying at the Royal Kona Hotel. After looking at various websites to determine where to have dinner, one restaurant kept coming up as a top pick. Broke Da Mouth Grindz and it was right across the street from the hotel. The short version of this review is, the food is way past awesome, the service is great and the prices are under what you’d expect to pay elsewhere near the water in Kona!
Their signature dishes are the Braised Boneless Short Ribs and Garlic Furikake Chicken. Both of these dishes were featured on The Food Channel’s Diners Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. We ate there twice on our short stay. I had the Short Ribs and Garlic Butter Shrimp the first time while Barbara had the Mento Bento Box consisting of one huge boneless braised short rib, one piece of garlic furikake chicken and spam on an egg (Yes Spam….it is Hawaii and they love it) all on a bed of furikake rice. Two days later we revisited the restaurant for lunch. I had the boneless braised short ribs again, but this time with the garlic furikake chicken and Barbara had the Hawaiian Animal Style burger topped with cheese, spam, an egg and aioli sauces.
The Shortribs are seared then placed in a mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar, water, onions and garlic. Then they are simmered for 2 to 3 hours to perfection. When they are plated, they’re finished off with a homemade teriyaki sauce and green onions. I found it odd there was no knife in the place setup, but for the short ribs, it wasn’t necessary. they cut with a fork and melted in your mouth! The Garlic Butter Shrimp are butterflied, lightly tossed in flour and deep fried perfectly so they are not over done, but cooked through. Then they are tossed in a melted butter and garlic mixture. My only complaint here was that they did not shell the shrimp….I don’t like playing with my food. The taste was amazing though.
The Furikake Chicken is dusted with flour, deep fried so the chicken thighs are tender and the skin is crispy. They were well drained to keep the grease factor down and then submerged in their sweet and savory sauce made of soy sauce, brown sugar, white sugar and black pepper. The chicken is plated on a bed of furikake rice and the chicken is dusted with furikake. What is furikake you ask? It’s a Japanese seasoning made with a mixture of seaweed, dried fish, sesame seeds, sugar and salt ….don’t make that face, it’s awesome!
The Hawaiian Animal Style cheeseburger was huge. After cooking it weighs in at 10 oz. It’s topped with cheddar cheese, their garlic aioli sauce, an egg cooked the way you want and bacon. The sides we had were their tuna, potato, macaroni salad and their furikake fried rice (very lightly fried and great!).
Our server the first night was Keonie and he was one of the best servers we’ve had on this long 50 state trip. Even though the restaurant was busy, he took the time to talk to us about the food, the island, the people and the culture. A few things that separate a good restaurant and a great restaurant are the food, the price and the service. You can find plenty of local restaurants that have the first 2 if you look, but we appreciate the service aspect. These people work hard at their jobs and can get frustrated like we all can. The great ones take the time to do an exemplary job, get to talk to you and do it all with a smile on their face. Keonie made this experience one to remember. Greate job!
To summarize, if you’re on the Island of Hawaii and in Kailua-Kona, go to Broke Da Mouth Grindz. You will not find a more pleasurable experience. Great food, great prices, awesome service and you can still get a great view of the sunset right from your table! What more can you want 🙂