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Side Dish 

Hawaii B.B.Q. leis it on thick

I can't resist this one, either: If the place took reservations, I'd say, "Book 'em, Dan-o." But Hawaii B.B.Q. (8237 Olive Blvd., 314-994-9929) is a tiny place, more diner/carryout than restaurant, and we chose the take-home route to sample its wares.

More Asian than "barbecue" (although both are appropriate for the neighborhood, with the distinguished elder statesman of barbecue, Chaney's, right across the street and dozens of Asian restaurants, carryout joints and grocers lining that stretch of Olive in western University City), Hawaii B.B.Q. offers combination plates of both meats and seafood, as well as individual items in "mini" and regular portions. The seafood is breaded and fried, whereas the meats are cut extra-thin -- a teriyaki-flavored steak, ginger-tinged chicken and beef ribs sliced right through the bone.

I'm guessing the "minis" would suffice as a meal for most people, padded as they are with lots of rice, macaroni and shredded cabbage; Hawaii B.B.Q. is also one of the few places in town to feature a restaurant-prepared version of that college-dorm staple, ramen noodles (in no fewer than seven forms). There's even a version of the Hawaiian staple loco moco, here served as a hamburger with salty brown gravy and topped with a fried egg. (Hey, you eat slingers, don't you? Speaking of slingers, Hawaii B.B.Q. also offers chili, although we didn't try it.)

At worst, with a soda, a meal will run you about 6 bucks; for a rice bowl, you can get out for about half that. Be there. Aloha.

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