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Cover Story

Makino Chaya’s Sweetest Offerings

Story By Alana Folen Photos By Leah Friel
March 25 - 31, 2012

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Every foodie would agree that heaven on earth is found at Makino Chaya. And with more than 100 items to feast on, you can only hope that you`re not dreaming. This popular Japanese seafood eatery is nothing but reality, and has been stealing the hearts of hungry diners for years and continues to do so with its elaborate buffet and ever-expanding menu options.

  • Executive chef John Arciaga and cook Audy Fleming.
  • JJ Luangkhot and Makino Chaya's general manager of operations Chris Mitchell
  • Dungeness Crab Sizzling Plate
  • Chef JJ Luangkhot's assorted desserts now available at Makino Chaya.
  • Customer Leimaile Quitevis enjoys Makino's impressive buffet.
  • Seafood Crab Cakes
  • Garlic Shrimp Sizzling Plate
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“Our main draw is our seafood,” says Chris Mitchell, general manager of operations. “We have Snow Crab, Half Maine Lobster and Miso Butterfish that you can order off the dinner menu, and on weekends we offer snow crab during lunch as well,” he explains. “We always change things up and look for new ideas and new opportunities, but our goal will always be to make our customers happy.”

Makino Chaya’s lunch buffet is available weekdays from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ($14.98 per person) and weekends from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. ($17.98 per person). The dinner buffet is offered Monday through Thursday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. ($30.98 per person), Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m. ($31.98 per person) and weekends from 5:30 to 9 p.m. ($31.98 per person).

“People always ask me what’s the difference between lunch and dinner, and I always tell them that the higher-quality items are always served at dinner. You can also order off our menu, too.”

On the dinner menu you’ll find a variety of mouth-watering selections to reel in your appetite including Fresh Oysters, Shrimp Tempura, Zaru Soba, Soft Shell Crab, Katsu Curry and more. According to Mitchell, the Pearlridge restaurant also recently added two alluring sizzling plates that loyal patrons have been loving.

“We have our Garlic Shrimp Sizzling Plate, in which the shrimp is sauteed in a garlic butter sauce, and we have a Dungeness Crab Sizzling Plate with curry sauce. Once you get the meat out of the shell and mix it with the curry sauce, it’s so delicious.”

As for Makino Chaya’s other top-notch items such as Seafood Dynamite — a mixture of lobster and crab topped with cheese in a crab shell — tempura and barbecue chicken, executive chef John Arciaga and his dedicated team make sure there’s more than enough for everyone’s dining pleasure.

And, in addition to the restaurant’s remarkable lunch and dinner offerings, a tried and true feast isn’t complete without the sweetest of endings. Makino Chaya has raised the bar once again and has now added the finest of creations from JJ Bistro & French Pastry to its dessert selection.

“The collaboration that we’ve done with chef JJ Luangkhot is a genius idea,” Mitchell states. “JJ’s a very excellent chef and it’s a start of a great family friendship. We’re certain his desserts will bring a lot of sweet tooths here.

“JJ’s desserts are usually meant for upscale a la carte restaurants, and to see this type of dessert at our buffet is excellent. He takes a lot of pride in his work,” he adds.

Luangkhot, an award-winning pastry chef, creates edible works of art on a daily basis, and he couldn’t be happier to share these sweet nothings with Makino Chaya.

“It’s a dream come true to have this opportunity to work with Makino Chaya,” he states. “They wanted to provide the best dessert ending, seeing that they already have the best buffet. Every month we hope to change up the desserts. We always want to update the selection, and right now we have Strawberry Guava Cake, Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Cake, Mango Cake, Tiramisu, and of course, Chocolate Pyramid.”

And if you dine on your birthday, you’ll receive a free Chocolate Pyramid courtesy of Makino Chaya (also, don’t forget to take advantage of the birthday special coupon and kamaaina special coupon found on Page 29 for even more great offerings). Want to continue any birthday celebration with one of Luangkhot’s magnificent cakes? You can place an order at least 24 hours in advance and it will be ready for you at Makino Chaya. “It’s been said that our restaurant is like Disneyland — you can’t get on all the rides in one day, so you have to come back again. The same goes for our food, you have to return for more,” Mitchell exclaims.

“We try to give our customers what they want at a reasonable price, and we always want to give back to the locals. It’s the locals who keep our business going strong.”

Makino Chaya

  • Where
    • Westridge Shopping Center
    • 98-150 Kaonohi St. #218
    • Aiea, HI 96701
  • Call
    • (808) 486-5100
  • Hours
    • Lunch Hours:
    • 11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
    • 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
    • Dinner Hours:
    • 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday
    • 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Fridays
    • 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Saturday-Sunday