Signature Experience Rises Above the Rest
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While The Signature Prime Steak & Seafood initially earned its moniker for the unsurpassed view to which diners are treated at every table, the restaurant also provides a signature brand of service and cuisine that elevates it a cut above the rest.
Situated atop Ala Moana Hotel on the 36th floor, The Signature is making its mark on Hawaii’s dining scene thanks to restaurateur Peter Kim, a Kaiser High School product who gained notoriety as a kicker at the University of Alabama under legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Kim helped launch Yummy’s Korean BBQ in 1986, and has had his hand in an assortment of restaurant ventures, which now includes The Signature — his first full-service foray.
“It is an overall experience, and we take into consideration comfort, temperature, lighting, scenery, service, food — of course — and a genuine sense of aloha,” explains Jacque Viloria, general manager of The Signature, who recently returned to Hawaii after gaining experience with Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in Las Vegas. “We’re definitely not stuffy or uptight, or particularly formal. We are up-scale, but diners are able to relax and have a good time.
Don’t be afraid to laugh out loud or clink your silverware together.”
The 275-seat restaurant opened its doors May 31 and held its grand opening July 5, and offers panoramic views spanning from the Koolau Mountains to East Honolulu and along Waikiki to the South shore, offering ideal vantage points for stunning sunsets and occasional firework displays. The Signature features three private dining areas capable of hosting eight to 40 guests comfortably, all of which include audio/visual capabilities for private entertainment and presentations.
“One of the great things about this restaurant is that there is not one bad seat in the entire house,” Viloria says. “We can accommodate pretty much any type of event or dinner per se, whether it’s a bachelor party or family gathering with children and elders.”
The Signature’s menu features prime cut, dry-aged beef including Prime Porterhouse ($64.95), a 24-ounce serving prepared by executive chef Ken MacKenzie and his skilled team. Dining Out readers also are invited to try Wagyu Strip ($75), a 10-ounce cut of elegantly marbled prime beef that is not listed on the menu, but available for one’s dining pleasure.
Stellar seafood selections also reel in the flavor, including Signature Seafood Tower for Two ($49.95) composed of Maine Lobster, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, New England Sea Scallops and Oysters on the Half Shell. Additionally, each entree is accompanied by The Signature’s Rustic Truffle Mashed Potatoes.
“Our menu isn’t made up of 100 different items. We wanted to keep it simple and make sure that there’s not one item that we’re not very proud of,” Viloria says. “Our steaks are second to none. We age our beef for 35 to 39 days, and serve steaks with a nice crust that isn’t overpowering.”
The Signature serves up after-dinner delights as well, including a decadent dessert cocktail dubbed The Shake ($13). The signature cocktail is presented in a martini glass and features Absolut Vanilla, Kahlua, Godiva chocolate liqueur and vanilla ice cream, and the alluring concoction is topped with fresh macadamia nuts and cinnamon.
“After a big steak dinner, sometimes we can’t have a full dessert, so this offers an ‘adult’ vanilla milkshake that cools and cleanses the palate and keeps the experience going,” Viloria says when describing The Shake.
Diners also may look forward to happy hour specials available daily at The Signature from 5 to 6:30 p.m. In addition to enjoying half-off bar menu prices, including Ahi Poke ($14, $7 during happy hour) and Chop Steak over steamed white rice ($20, $10 during happy hour), patrons are treated to assorted drink specials including Red and White Wine of the Month ($7), Finlandia Vodka Martinis ($9) and Miller Light or Budweiser ($4.50). The special menu also features one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails, B.Z.T. ($13, $6.50 during happy hour), which incorporates Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix infused with sriracha and wasabi along with Grey Goose Vodka served up or on the rocks with a slice of crispy bacon.
“Customers really feel as though they can make this home,” Viloria says.
Photos courtesy of The Signature Prime Steak & Seafood
The Signature Prime Steak & Seafood
Ala Moana Hotel, 36th Floor
410 Atkinson Drive
Monday-Saturday, 5-10:30 p.m.
Sundays, 5-10 p.m.