Romano’s Pupu Explosion

Columns Pupu Picks

January 7, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team |

In December, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, the popular family eatery in Ala Moana Center, introduced 20 new items to its menu, including seven pupus. Found under the Italian Tapas section of the menu, the items range in price from $6 to $9, but diners can order two for $12. These bonus pairings are smart not just because they add value to your meal, but they can create a balance of flavors when chosen correctly. They also can add a little adult flavor to the keiki favorites your youngster will insist upon.

  • Goat Cheese Peppadew Peppers ($7)
  • Spicy Ricotta Meatballs ($6.50)
  • Mac & Cheese Bites with Truffle Dip ($6)
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The Mac & Cheese Bites with Truffle Dip ($6) is family comfort food without the needless utensils that just slow you down. The exterior is crispy, the interior rich with cheese and firm pasta. Chef Mike Longworth says the appetizer has been extremely popular, especially with the children.

“What’s not to like,” said Longworth with a smile. “It’s mac and cheese with a cheese dipping sauce that we add a little truffle oil to for the adults.” A nice pairing for the cheesy yet surprisingly non-messy finger food is the Shrimp, Cannellini Bean & Avocado Crostini ($9). The cleanness of the shrimp, beans and avocado and the crunchiness of the crostini provide a nice flavor and texture complement to the Mac & Cheese Bites. Plus, it looks far too healthy to interest the keiki, meaning more for you.

The Spicy Ricotta Meatballs ($6.50) go well with the Goat Cheese Peppadew Peppers ($7). The meat-balls are mild with a slight citrus flavor that comes from fresh orange and lemon zest. Ricotta cheese and panko bread crumbs help add to the texture without making the dish heavy. Whereas the meatballs are mild, the stuffed peppers are anything but. Bold with spice and pickling flavor, the peppers explode with juice and aroma without being overpowering. As Longworth says, it is a flavor you won’t get anyplace else.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill

  • Where
    • Ala Moana Center, Hookipa Terrace
    • 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 42420
    • Queen’s Marketplace, Waikoloa Beach Resort
    • 201 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Suite 1010
  • Call
    • (808) 356-8305 (Ala Moana)
    • (808) 443-5515 (Waikoloa)
  • Hours
    • Sunday – Thursday
    • 11 a.m.- 10 p.m.
    • Fridays and Saturdays
    • 11 a.m.- 11 p.m.
  • Website

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