AMERICAN FORK — It's easy to see that this area has a new restaurant, because on a Thursday night this addition to North Utah County dining fare had a line that extended to the door with every table filled. The atmosphere was festive as was the food. It's an ideal meal for a warm ... OK, really hot, summer evening.
Not being a fan of another chain's rice bowls because the sauces are overly sweet and heavy, I wasn't too interested in trying one. Yet as I scanned the tables, that dish seemed to be the favorite. So I ordered one and it was so good, I wanted to take one home to reheat for lunch the next day. It had Rumbi rice, which is a coconut flavored rice with red beans and was topped with tender chunks of grilled chicken and sauted vegetables that retained a bit of crunchiness. They were perfect. I tried all three sauces and all were satisfactory. The Bali Island is a peanut sauce with crushed peanuts, and if a strong peanut taste it to your liking, this would be ideal. The Jamaican jerk leaves a bit of heat on the tongue, but the Hawaiian teriyaki is a flavorful glaze that isn't too sweet.
We tried the Aloha Chicken Salad, another favorite. It had a fresh variety of greens, chicken breast pieces, mangos, Gorgonzola cheese, peppers, onions and a creamy mango vinaigrette topped with tortilla strips. I'm looking for a chicken salad that beats Bajio's green chili chicken salad with mangos for flavor and texture. This doesn't quite measure up, but the dressing is infinitely better.
The luau pork is great, whether in a sandwich or an entree plate. The slow-roasted pulled pork is moist and delicious. I recommend the sandwich because it offers Rumbi fries, a mixture of sweet potato and regular fries, The regular fries are quite routine but the sweet potato sticks are full of flavor. The plate comes with macaroni salad and Asian slaw with white rice. The macaroni was rubbery and flavorless. I could have bounced it off the floor. The slaw was nothing more than a couple of julienne carrot pieces with cabbage and the rice was crusty. The disappointment on my father-in-law's face was palpable as the rest of us ate our meal with relish.
I returned a day later and was impressed when I heard the lady in the next table complain that her salad did not have enough chicken. Within seconds, they brought her a bowl of chicken pieces to toss with her salad. This was a dessert run for me and my friends. Dave's key lime pie had a sublime creamy texture, even though I like my pie with a bit more tang. The Maui Sunset Cheesecake was as good as anything I've tried in New York and the mango puree was a real treat. The Tsunami Chocolate Cake comes heated and is strictly for dark chocolate lovers. Fortunately, that means me.
Rumbi Island Grill
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Where: 987 W. State Road between Lehi and American Fork
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday, noon-7 p.m.
Type: Luau style food
Cost: Entree salads: $7.49, rice bowls $6.59-$8.09, sandwiches, $6.69, desserts, $3.99
Charlene Winters is a freelance writer, former food editor and food judge who — when she's not in the kitchen — works as the director of communications and marketing for BYU alumni. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.