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Reluctant at first to open a restaurant,...

Reluctant at first to open a restaurant, Earl Morita is glad he did. That’s because his year-old Bruddah’s Hawaiian Foods in downtown Gardena has already attracted a loyal--and sizable--following.

The 15-foot-wide, 32-seat storefront restaurant is decorated simply, with a few photographs on one wall and empty rice sacks on the other. The server I had, Cindy, was everything I could ask for in a waitress: friendly, knowledgeable and fast.

Teriyaki at Bruddah’s is very good. The beef version ($5.50) is made with rib-eye steak. The sauce, made primarily of sugar and soy, does not overpower the taste of the meat, but instead does what a sauce should do: enhance. A beef and chicken teriyaki combo is offered ($5.25) and, like all entrees, comes with two large scoops of steamed rice and macaroni salad. Bamboo teriyaki sticks (chicken $1.25, beef $1.50) can be ordered a la carte.

The oxtail soup ($5.50) is popular. It is made by boiling oxtails for three hours and serving them in their broth. The three or four large chunks of meat are intensely beefy and very tender.

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Bruddah’s has a set list of daily specials. For example, on Wednesday, a beef short rib stew ($5.75), sweet and sour spareribs ($5.50), and shoyu chicken ($4.75) are offered. For a taste of all three, order the mixed plate ($5.75). On Friday the special is braised beef short ribs with gravy ($5.95).

Weekends feature the Hawaiian combo ($6.75). This consists of lau lau , which is chunks of pork steamed in a taro leaf; lomi salmon, a mixture of raw salmon, tomatoes and onions, and chicken with Oriental noodles.

For fish eaters, in addition to grilled mahi mahi (market price, but usually around $5.95), there is akule ($5.95), a variety that’s very popular in Hawaii. Two large pieces are grilled and served with lemon and soy sauce.

Breakfast features banana hot cakes ($2.50) and Eggs-n-Things ($3.95), in which two eggs are accompanied by rice or fried potatoes, grilled Hawaiian sweet bread and your choice of either corned beef hash, pork chop, Portuguese sausage or bacon. Another special features rice topped with a hamburger patty and two eggs and smothered in gravy ($3.75).

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Bruddah’s Hawaiian Foods is at 1033 W. Gardena Blvd., Gardena. (310) 323-9112. Open Tuesday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Monday.


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