NJ Dining: Lee's Hawaiian Islander

Lees Hawaiian Islander

768 Stuyvesant Ave, Lyndhurst, NJ

So, for lack of a better description, I didn’t get enough umbrella drinks and expertly prepared bad American Chinese food this week, so Sunday night we went to North Jersey’s other Polynesian throwback, Lee’s Hawaiian Islander in Lyndhurst. Lee’s also had a Clifton location, but it closed due to a fire in 2003.

Lee’s is a huge orange painted building with no windows that dates back 30 years.

The Tiki Bar.

The cavernous main dining area.

The ceilings at Lee’s are at least 18 feet tall, probably closer to 20. A Polynesian outrigger boat filled with fake Hawaiian orchids and stuffed exotic birds is suspended from the ceiling.

The drink menu. Unlike other Polynesian restaurants I have visited previously, these drinks defy description. I guess they are so classic that everyone should know what they are and what’s mixed in them, but you could always ask.

A Mai Tai (left) and a Zombie (right). The Zombie appears to differ from the Mai Tai in that it has probably 4x the amount of alcohol in it.

Zombie closeup.

Zombie after-effects.

Pu-Pu Platter, the classic.

Young Chow Fried Rice

Sweet and Sour Pork. Yeah, I know, so sue me.

Along with Shrimp with Lobster Sauce, Egg Foo Young is also a benchmark Chinese-Am dish for me, so I order it at pretty much every place I visit that specializes in that type of food. Lee’s is excellent — the gravy doesn’t taste like uncooked flour or overly grease laden and the egg patties are perfectly cooked.

16 Responses to NJ Dining: Lee's Hawaiian Islander

  1. Mark says:

    Unbelieveable…this post made me hungry for being 25 again, with dot-com plastic in my shorts pocket, and a liver that could drink til dawn.

    Which has absolutely nothing to do with your post! Spectacular.

    But really, that photo of Sweet and Sour Pork should go into Wikipedia. It all actually does look prefectly prepared. Congratulations!

  2. Jim Teacher says:

    Goin’ here tonight for karaoke. Though I lived in Clifton for over 20 years, I never made it to that location.

    That last dish looks vomitlicious. But what do I know.

  3. Woo Hoo says:

    So…this place is gross to be nice. The staff seved foor while picking their teeth…

  4. janice says:

    Do they still have Karaoke and when is it?

  5. Joanne says:

    We go to Lee’s every week and it’s a great place. Just like family and the food is great, drinks are potent!!! lOL

    Karokee on Fridays and Saturdays……….guaranteed a good time.

  6. Lo Flo says:

    Anyone know what time karaoke starts? I used to love this place when I was a kid.

  7. Gorak says:

    You really have to check out the band that plays there every Halloween. ARCH DEMON CHOIR. They are the only band that ever played live at Lees and they are unbelievable!

  8. aggie says:

    Yeap! we are going tonight all dressed up!! And you know what’s great – for only $40.00 you get dinner, show and a chance to win BLACK AND WHITE GIBSON EPIPHONE. And yes good time is guaranteed.

  9. FiFi says:

    Mai Tai……


    Tsing Tao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :o)

    I could go for a Zombie…………………………………… Right about……….. NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    No comparison to the Zombies served to me in the Hawaiian Islands! I couldn’t wait to get back to Jersey to go to Lee’s!!!

  10. gabe micchelli says:

    One of the great secret places for great food and fun. Great Mai Tai, fantastic PuPu and high quality Chinese Polinesian food. By far my fav is the wonton soup. Best of all, if you haven’t been there in 30 years won’t wory its exactly the same. Same surroundings, food presented same way. same waiters. Same blowfish, bar, everything. It’s fantastic! If anything ever happens to this place, Lyndhurst will drop into the Passaic River and never be heard from again.

  11. myszka says:

    omg, this place tops the charts of chinese restaurants in the hudson/bergen/essex areas of nj. the pu pu platter ROCKS!! hawaii beef and so jar chicken wings are too die for. a christmas eve tradition for my family for a few years now. shrimp chow mein is delicious. i ate there as a kid and will continue to through my adult life. i sure hope that it doesn’t close anytime within the near future, but i do wish they would replace the rug that has probably been there since the place opened. gotta LOVE lee’s!!

  12. Cathie Hart says:

    We went Sat. nite to celebrate a friend’s birthday — It was insanely fun!!! The Pu Pu Platters are the best. I went with an old stand-by — Chicken Chow Mein, and loved it!! Fun, kitschy decor, just adds to the good time. We behaved like kids again.

  13. KK says:

    I haven’t been here in MANY years but used to visit regularly for the buffet, my daughter and I loved it. One of the 2 Chinese buffet places in the Lyndhurst area. Jade East on Ridge closed years ago. I’ll have to stop back soon.

  14. lisa says:

    what day is karokee?

  15. dave says:

    LEE’s in Passaic was soo much better until it burnt down. I do not like the one in Lyndhurst nearly as much.

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