5 Masonic (at Geary), 921-6242, www.dahukilau.com
The Hawaiian Islands have tantalized San Franciscans ever since Union correspondent Mark Twain paid a visit in 1865, King Kalakaua repaid the favor a few years later, and Matson Lines steamships departed Pier 35 for Honolulu on a regular basis. Hukilau keeps the connection thriving and fragrant with its menu of traditional plate lunches and dinners: big wooden platters of panko-crusted chicken, broiled mahi-mahi, or the island specialty of your choice served with two scoops of rice and a scoop of mac salad (why not?). Start things off with the delectable ahi poke, finish up with the Big Island brownie, throw in a Wicked Wahini or two (passion orange nectar and champagne, and absolutely delicious), and you'll be sailing to Hamakuapoko without a rudder. The tiki-bamboo ambience is a delight, and things get especially raucous when the Mango Kingz or the Oahu Homeboys rock the joint every Friday and Saturday night.