A Mac Attack of Classic Comfort FoodFeatures Inside Feature
April 20, 2014
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
Local diners don’t need to travel half a world away to enjoy a true taste of Italy, as hearty portions of incredible Italian cuisine reside right here at home at Romano’s Macaroni Grill.
Located in Ala Moana Center’s inviting Hookipa Terrace, Macaroni Grill’s skilled chefs and friendly service staff strive to provide a memorable dining adventure worthy of being dubbed a “wow” experience. The menu offers classic “comfort food,” and the cuisine speaks for itself — simple seasonings and familiar flavors create a perfect balance to satisfy any diner.
“We focus on crisp, very clean flavors. And, balance is very important,” says executive chef Nawai Kekoolani, when describing Macaroni Grill’s popular menu. “With our recent menu update, we wanted to bring back some of the ‘oldies’ and ‘classics’ that customers have come to love. We make sure to keep everything vibrant and fresh, while offering larger portions and excellent value.”
The spacious restaurant also includes a full bar and relaxing lounge setting. Whether stopping in for pau hana drinks and pupus, or enjoying a family dinner with loved ones, diners are destined to be pleased.
Diners are invited to delve into Chicken Florentine ($12), a flavorful salad that makes its return to the menu. It features zesty spinach and orzo, along with hints of garlic and capers tossed with a tasty, refreshing lemon vinaigrette dressing. Caprese ($12) also offers a fresh start to any meal, as vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil are drizzled with olive oil to tie all the flavors together.
Customers rave about Macaroni Grill’s assortment of flatbreads, including Roasted Chicken & Arugula ($16). The light, yet filling, flatbread features the flavors of herb chicken, roasted peppers and basil pesto, and serves as an excellent segue to the entree course.
Tuscan Ribeye ($25), a new addition to the menu, offers a hearty cut of certified Angus beef topped with Tuscan butter, and served with roasted potatoes and asparagus. Those with a robust appetite may gravitate toward another favorite in Chicken Under a Brick ($21), a sage-roasted half chicken served with asparagus and roasted potatoes with diavola sauce.
“It’s hard to go wrong with the ribeye — the marbling is superb,” says Kekoolani, who previously served as regional corporate chef at Ruth’s Chris, Macaroni Grill’s sister restaurant. “We don’t dryage the meat or do anything fancy. It’s simply seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked to perfection and topped off with a compound Tuscan butter. You can’t go wrong.”
The diverse menu at Romano’s Macaroni Grill also features upgraded dessert selections. Have no fear, there are no skimpy single portions here. Tiramisu ($8) lives up to its name as a “pick me up,” and the decadent coffee-flavored favorite adds an exclamation point to a memorable meal.
Macaroni Grill also spotlights a host of happy hour specials available daily from 3 to 6 p.m. The popular menu offers a slew of savings on customer favorites, such as $4 house wines, $3 domestic beers and $4 imported and draft beers.
Food specials also abound, including Grilled Pepperoni Bread ($11 regular price) for just $8, as well as Italian Garlic Fries ($10) and Spinach Dip ($8) — these two items are not listed on the menu, but diners are encouraged to order them from their server or bartender.
As a reminder, Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and Romano’s Macaroni Grill serves as the perfect home for families to come together and celebrate the special occasion. Reservations are recommended for dining May 11, and mothers receive a rose and special gift, and also can enter to win a “Pamper and Dine” prize package, which includes cuisine from Macaroni Grill and a Heaven on Earth Salon and Day Spa gift card.
And, as many companies and businesses honor and show appreciation for employees as part of Administrative Professionals Week, Romano’s Macaroni Grill is the place to celebrate. This entire week, administrative professionals will be rewarded with a special token of appreciation after enjoying a delicious meal.
“If you’re looking for high-quality, fresh food, this is the place to be,” says Kekoolani. “If this is your first time here, we want to provide that ‘wow’ factor. And by the time you leave, I want you to be thinking about coming back for your next dining experience.”
Romano’s Macaroni Grill
Ala Moana Center, Hookipa Terrace
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
Sunday-Thursday, 11 A.M.-10 P.M.
Friday-Saturday, 11 A.M.-11 P.M.