Our office gang had lunch yesterday for the first time at Makino Chaya’s new location in Aloha Tower Marketplace. We were all thoroughly impressed. Even amazed. This place gives Willows some serious hard rubs, especially considering it’s half the price at only $12.95/person for lunch. Certainly several notches above Todai’s lunch buffet, which was impressive itself. I can’t even fathom how MC makes money charging that little for sooooooo much all-you-can eat FOOD! We’re not talking “just food”. We’re talking everything from Alaskan King Crab legs to Ahi Nigiri Sushi to cooked-to-order Teppanyaki steaks! Wow! Trust me, when you go there, you’ll be blown away by how much food there is. Jaw dropping.
You know, it’s kinda’ frustrating with buffet restaurants that have so many great choices, because you only have so much stomach space. As you can see, I refrain from the starches, going strictly for the gold. As in seafood gold!
The soup (technically stew) on the top in the second photo above is Oden. It tasted like they used the same oden nomoto I use in my recipe. I love that had Konnyaku in it (that purplish, black-dotted thing), and lots of various Kamaboko (fish cake) in the steamer to choose from. I wish it had Kombu Maki, but that’s OK, it was still oishii. Below the Oden is Miso soup. Pretty basic, but it worked.
The selections on my main plate (top photo) includes (clockwise from top): Roast Beef (excellent flavor, but a bit tough), shrimp and vegetable tempura (just as great as Hanaki!), “Rainbow” Sushi, (not bad, but not great) Baked Oyster with Bak Choi cream sauce (ono), steamed chili Basa (fish, but not Saba!, mild, moist flavor), Shrimp Tempura Maki, Gyoza (fantastic), Glazed Button Mushrooms (great), seafood shumai and pork shumai (ono).
The crab legs (third photo) were a standout winner. Tasted like they deep-fried them, with a heavy pepper and butter flavor. Yum. That alone over-justified the price of admission.
I can’t remember the Japanese name of the dish on top (blue bowl) in the 4th photo, but it was basically a slice of tako, shrimp and fresh ahi on a dollop of rice, topped with a chiffonade Shiso leaf. The other dish is stewed clams. Both were sugoi oishii desu!
And that was just nipping the bud. There is just WAYYYY TOO MUCH TO CHOOSE. I don’t know if I was in buffet bliss or simply mad that I didn’t have space to try everything! lol What I showed you is probably less than 1/4th of the total item selections available for lunch at MC AT.
You just have to go for yourself to see and taste the experience. It’s much better than the King St. location, IMO (I’ve never been to their other locations). They didn’t have a menu to order from like they do at the King St. location, as it appears most of those items have simply been made available on the buffet line. At $12.95/person (Kama’aina rate), it’s just an amazing bargain for all the high quality seafood and just.. just everything. WOW! is really all I can say.
Hana hou photos added 3.17.07 from a return visit for someone’s birthday…
Shrimp, Eggplant and Bell Pepper Tempura
Ogo Sesame Salad, Imitation Crab Salad & Edamame (steamed soy beans)
Steamed Clams and rice
Unagi Eel Sushi and inverted California Rolls
Oysters with a creme sauce, Shrimp Shumai, Lobster and Crab Legs; keep in mind that this place is only charging $12.95 for admission. Wow!
Miso Soup and Sauteed button mushrooms, which go along with the next dish.
Teppanyaki steak, grilled to order. Very tender! A Nigiri sushi adds the “surf” to this “turf”. Yum.
This dessert is made up of unsweetened mochi balls in a sweet Azuki Bean “sauce”. I can’t remember the Japanese name for it, but it was my favorite item on the dessert table. Oishii desu!
Apple Pie, Jello, Mocha Cheesecake (my favorite one on this plate), White Chocolate and Almond Mousse and Bananas floated in Whipped Creme.
Bananas dipped in chocolate fondue.