Sign up for news and special offers from Dining Out
Makino's Ever-Expanding Menu
Inside Feature

Makino’s Ever-Expanding Menu

Story By Sarah Pacheco Photos By Nathalie Walker
January 23 - 29, 2011

See more articles from

If the best way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, then loyal patrons to Makino Chaya will soon be feeling the love as the popular Japanese seafood eatery gets ready to launch a slew of specials and meal deals throughout the month of February.

  • Executive chef John Arciaga with the restaurant's wealth of seafood offerings, including Indonesian Blue Soft Shell Crab, Snow Crab, Lobster Tails and Grilled Salmon.
  • Makino's array of colorful desserts.
  • Yellow Cake
  • Red Velvet Cake
  • The restaurant's salad bar always contains garden-fresh items.
  • A variety of sushi awaits Makino Chaya customers.
Image of

The first of many love notes, if you will, can be found on Makino Chaya’s ever-expanding menu. Back in October, the four-year-old restaurant added Miso Butterfish, Smoked Salmon, Calamari Steak and baked Indonesian Blue Soft Shell Crab to its dinner menu. The additions were such a hit that Chris Mitchell, general manager of operations, reeled in even more offerings from the deep, turning the dinner menu into a literal “crab fest.”

“I try to keep with the locals first,” says Mitchell. “Tourists come and go, but the locals keep the business going.”

The crustacean love fest includes Snow Crab, Dungeness Crab with a black bean sauce, Soft-Shell Crab, Blue Crab Cakes, 6-ounce Lobster Tails, Grilled Salmon, Uni (sea urchin) and Garlic Shrimp.

The lunch menu has expanded since last fall. Now customers can order Snow Crab, Calamari Steak, Grilled Salmon and shrimps prepared in three ways — tempura-style, and in lemon and garlic sauces — for their mid-day meal.

“There’s still well over 75 different items (on the menus), but these are a lot of things that people ask for, so that’s what I bring in,” says Mitchell.

The deals keep on flowing with the continuation of Makino Chaya’s bento specials. The Tokyo Chicken Bento ($2.97) comes with rice, yakisoba, crab shumai, broccoli, tomato, gyoza and tamago, while the Garlic Ahi, Chicken Katsu and Crab Meat Omelette bentos ($3.97 each) include the same plus mac salad, seaweed salad and a piece of crispy fried chicken. Same goes for the Crab Meat Salad Bento ($3.97), which also includes four California rolls and inari sushi, and the Barbeque Pork Ribs, Grilled Salmon and Miso Butterfish bentos ($4.97 each), which pile shrimp, tomato and two shrimp tempura on to the box.

Makino Chaya is giving a $5 gift card with the purchase of a $4.97 bento and a $4 gift card with $3.97 bento plates that are good through the end of February. Mitchell says you must call at least one day in advance for bento orders, and that the gift certificates are not valid with any other discounts or promotions, like the Birthday Special that gives the birthday child a free meal on his or her special day, or the Kamaaina Special good for 10 percent off lunch and 20 percent off dinner. (See coupon offers in this week’s issue for full details.)

One discount not to pass up next month is the Valentine’s Day lunch and dinner specials. On Feb. 14, Makino Chaya’s all-you-can-eat lunch buffet costs $13.98, and dinner is $29.98.

And, in addition to the restaurant’s beloved bounty of creatures from both land and sea, folks can dine on Washington-Fresh Half-Shell Oysters to their hearts’ content. Oysters come prepared both raw or cooked and are available only during dinner Valentine’s weekend (Feb. 12, 13 and 14) while supplies last.

Finish the experience with one of the 30-plus varieties of desserts, including crepes and miniature cakes.

“Locals don’t care too much for the desserts,” Mitchell laughs. “They care more for the crab, the steak, the chicken. Dessert’s like, eh, if I have room!”

Makino Chaya

  • Where
    • 98-150 Kaonohi Street #B219
    • Aiea, HI 96701
  • Call
    • (808) 486-5100
  • Hours
    • Lunch Hours
    • 11:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.
    • Monday – Sunday
    •  
    • Dinner Hours
    • 5:45 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Monday – Thursday
    • 5:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Friday – Sunday