Located at 2224 Golden Gate Dr. in Greensboro’s Golden Gate Shopping Center, ZC Hawaiian BBQ serves Hawaiian and pan-Asian cuisine for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Bulk orders, takeout carrying, and health-conscious options are available.
Sometimes, being the only game in town is both a blessing and a curse. The lack of competition grants a measure of protection, but the expectations to “get it right” are that much higher. So it goes with ZC, Greenboro’s sole Hawaiian eatery. Those who have had Hawaiian elsewhere will likely be underwhelmed, but ZC still serves a need for the area adequately if not impressively.
The Z in ZC stands for owner Benny Zeng, a Chinese restaurant veteran who opened the eatery with his family about two years ago. The staff here are friendly, and though the restaurant is more colorful than most, it still exudes a casual, Chinese takeout vibe.
The menu, on the other hand, goes far beyond typical. Saimin (Hawaiian ramen), musubi (a cooked sushi variant), rice-and-vegetable bowls with various toppings, and combination platters join about two dozen versions of the Hawaiian lunch plate. Sandwiches and sides round out the impressive list of offerings.
For a takeout order, I went with a BBQ Mix (chicken, beef, and short ribs), a Seafood Combo (fried fish, fried shrimp, and chicken katsu), and a few manapua (pork steamed buns). The food was prepared on-time and still warm by the time I made it home. So far, so good. Unfortunately, the meal itself proved to be a decidedly mixed experience. The meats were seasoned well, but they were overcooked. The chicken katsu in particular was quite chewy and dry. There were also very few accompanying vegetables. On the other hand, the sides of macaroni salad were a welcome addition, and the sauces provided complemented the dishes nicely.
While ZC’s quality is less-than-stellar, it is a great bargain. Lunch plates can be had for as little as $6, and my combination platters were both under $10 apiece. You get plenty of food for your money, too: the two platters easily yielded four meals.
Though I would be hesitant to repeat my order, given the sheer number of dishes available, I will likely give ZC another try in the future. Despite its flaws, it is cheap, abundant, and far more interesting than the average Asian takeout joint.