Old favorite remains No. 1 spot for families
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BY KAREN IWAMOTO
As the holidays approach, thoughts turn to familiar meals with an emphasis on tradition. While not quite Mom’s home cooking, a spread from a community institution that has served generations of Hawaii’s families certainly does the trick. New Eagle Cafe, which has been in business since the 1950s, is that kind of place.
If the trend among restaurants has been toward airy, modern spaces with experimental fusion cuisine, then New Eagle Cafe is a throwback to the days of big-booth seating, dim lighting and good old-fashioned local food — a mix of American, Japanese and Korean cuisine, to be exact, and lots of seafood options, too.
It’s the kind of place that inspires nostalgia for locals who can remember eating there on lunch break or for dinner with their parents or grandparents and who now bring their own children on Mondays, when keiki eat for free with the purchase of an adult meal.
It may not be fancy, but it serves up reliable, affordable comfort food — and lots of it. There are more than 100 menu items, ranging from Fried Mandoo ($6.95) to Spaghetti ($10.95) and various Teishoku (starting at $25.95), which come with rice, miso soup, tsukemono, shrimp and veggie tempura, and ahi sashimi.
So where to start? The restaurant’s owner, Tae Im, recommends Roasted Prime Rib. At $21.35 for a single-cut of rib-eye steak, or $30.85 for a double-cut, it is one of the pricier menu options but is very popular for its flavor,which is the result of two hours of slow-roasting. The dish comes with a choice of starch and a side of hot vegetables.
New Eagle Cafe also is known for its Oxtail Soup, ($14.60), a hearty broth with chunks of beef tail simmering with vegetables and served with rice. Oxtail Min ($14.85), which comes with saimin noodles instead of rice, is a delicious riff on the original.
Although it remains a family-friendly restaurant, New Eagle Cafe also now serves select beer ($3.25) and wine ($4.25).
On Dec. 19-20, the restaurant is offering round-trip trolley rides to Honolulu Hale to view Honolulu City Lights. The rides are free with the purchase of a meal. Call the restaurant at the number below to book a reservation starting Dec. 1.
New Eagle Cafe
1130 N. Nimitz Hwy., A-100, Honolulu
Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m.