Mac 24/7 debuts new eats

Columns Lite Bites

September 13, 2015

Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: NATHALIE WALKER

Mac 24/7 in Waikiki has updated its menu with seven new dishes that are unique, tasty and fit perfectly within its culinary genre of gourmet comfort food.

On the breakfast menu, there’s a Southern classic, Housemade Biscuits and Gravy ($15), but with a local twist. This time, executive chef James Aptakin took his country gravy (which is served with the popular Chicken Fried Steak) and created a hearty blend of Portuguese sausage country gravy. The biscuits are baked fresh every morning, and the dish also is topped with two eggs any style.

For salads, Thai Grilled Kalbi Steak Salad ($17) consists of Nalo greens and iceberg lettuce, Thai basil, mint, Hauula tomato, locally grown papaya, cubed avocado, crushed peanuts, fried shallots and a Thai lime vinaigrette. “It’s something we just found ourselves hungry for all the time,” notes Mark Nelsen, director of food and beverage. “So we would make it for fun on the side and with different strips of steak. We really wanted a Thai steak salad (on the menu), and one day, Chef’s light bulb went off. He said, ‘Our kalbi is killer; why don’t we just dice that up?’ It’s been very well received and it has that nice hint of a fresh Thai flavor — a nice little kick to it. It’s a very bountiful salad, but not a salad that will weigh you down.”

Also new is Hawaiian Moonfish Tacos ($17), which presents three locally caught grilled opah tacos in a flour tortilla, roasted pepper citrus aioli, Kahuku corn, cilantro-lime tequila créme fraiche and mango salsa. The dish comes with a choice of french fries or onion rings; or upgrade to sweet potato (add $1) or Parmesan (add $3) fries.

The other must-try additions are Hawaiian Seafood Angel Hair Pomodoro, Barbecue Kalua Pulled Pork Sandwich, Barbecue Kalua Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict; and for dessert, there’s Grilled, Locally Grown Apple-Banana Cobbler.

“We attempt to add or subtract something quarterly,” explains Nelsen. “It keeps us creative, keeps our regular customers interested and it allows us to continue to, sort of, practice our little niche of taking childhood fond memories or comfort foods and twisting it to an upscale or gourmet version of it.”

Chef Aptakin, who has been at Mac 24/7 for a little more than three years, also has been busy representing the restaurant at various events throughout Hawaii. At the recent Made in Hawaii festival, he gave a one-hour cooking demonstration and made 200 samples using supplies and ingredients from vendors at the expo.

He also participated in Mangoes at the Moana, where he made a Mango Shrimp Sorbeiche that was voted No. 1 dish by attendees. In June, he participated in the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association Taste Awards Battle of the Chefs competition, and was awarded Best Presentation and Best Use of HFMA products.

Next, he’ll be at Flavors by the Bay presented by Kamaaina Kids Sept. 26 at Heeia State Park, and Hawaii Chocolate Festival Oct. 16-18 at Neal Blaisdell Exhibition Hall.

As for events at Mac 24/7, football fans will want to know that there are eight large flat-screen TVs for them to catch NFL games on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays; and college football on Saturdays. On Mondays, enjoy Fantasy Football specials, plus, if your fantasy team wins, you’ll get a free appetizer or dessert just for watching the game at the eatery.

Mac 24/7

Hilton Waikiki Beach
2500 Kuhio Ave., Waikiki
Open 24 hours daily; happy hour: 2-5 p.m. daily and midnight-3 a.m. Sunday-Thursday
$3 validated valet parking is available when dining

Honolulu, HI 96815

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best