Finishing a beautiful Sunday yesterday in the sun ‘n surf at Baby Makapu’u Beach, a.k.a. “Baby Mak’s”, we headed further down into Waimanalo town where the first (or last, depending which direction you’re driving) cluster of eateries are, right by Makapu’u Beach Park. There, adjacent to 7-Eleven, you’ll find Serg’s Mexican Kitchen Nalo, Hawaiian Island Cafe, Keneke’s Plate Lunch & BBQ, and right behind Keneke’s, Ono Steaks & Shrimp Shack.
Reading over all the praises and raves on Yelp, with an average 4.5 stars from 191 reviews, we decided to try Ono Steaks & Shrimp Shack. And boy were we glad we did, as this ‘Nalo near-the-beach shrimp shack ROCKS! Mahalo once again Yelpers for the spot-on tips!
According to Makana, their very friendly cashier, Ono Steaks & Shrimp Shack has been at its brick & mortar restaurant location here on Wailea Street in Waimanalo for about two years now. Prior to that they were operating out of several different lunch trucks, being in business for a total of about 5 years. The owner is Waimanalo-born Keoki Emond.
As you already see by the menu posted in front, this place has so many ono sounding choices, you’ll have “counter freeze” (indecisiveness) here for sure!
Here’s a scan of Ono Steaks & Shrimp Shack current menu:
Another huge plus about Ono Steaks & Shrimp Shack is their very clean and spacious air conditioned dining room, a welcoming accommodation, again, after a long day in the sun ‘n surf just minutes up the road.
As you can see, it does get crowded here, as it consistently remained so during our visit around 2pm yesterday.
If you prefer, they also have outdoor seating.
Or better yet, take your plates and drive or walk makai-bound right up Wailea Street all the way to the end, where there’s an access path, and enjoy your meal right on Waimanalo Beach!
I was hoping to find their highly raved about “Garlic Sauce” here at the condiment station, but nope. I guess you only get that with the order that calls for it. Anoddah’ ‘ting stay missing is da’ Hawaiian Chili Peppah Watah!
As for their ordering system at the counter, they don’t go off a receipt number, but instead take your name down and call it out when it’s ready. It would be nice if they had a loudspeaker outside so you can choose to wait outside for your order, being how crowded it can get inside.
That said, it took a little over 10 minutes for our order of 4 items to be called, which ain’t bad considering how crowded it was.
Getting right to it, I decided to try what many Yelpers highly recommend, the Fresh Fish Taco, made with grilled Ono (Wahoo fish), topped with sweet chili aioli, shredded cabbage, papaya mango salsa on two corn tortillas.
Adding turf to the surf, I also couldn’t resist trying their Smoked Meat plate, which is Kiawe slow-smoked Pork with sauteed onions, served over a generous bed of rice and scoop of Mac Salad.
Diner K ordered the Furikake Ahi and 8 oz. Steak combo, however upon returning to our table and opening it up, turns out they got the order wrong on just this one plate and gave us the fresh Ono with Papaya-Mango Salsa instead. No probs, as we took it back and they gladly corrected it within just a few minutes.
Ah, that indeed is Furikake Ahi with Wasabi Aioli and 8 oz. Steak Combo, served with Mac Salad. Note for all plates, you can opt for toss salad and brown rice as a healthier choice.
Again, suffering “counter freeze” where everything looked so ono, Diner K also ordered the Roast Pork plate for some “side sampling”. Good call!
And? Let’s go in reverse order of each dish shown, where we have their Roast Pork with Brown Gravy, which was broke da’ mout’ winnahz! The pork was fork-tender, super moist and seasoned perfectly with salt. While the brown gravy was packed with meaty flavor, and had a fantastic stick-to-your-ribs thickness that “glued” all its flavor-packed rich goodness to the succulent roast pork and perfectly cooked white rice.
Aftah da’ beach, ‘dis buggah was so ono, brah, we almos’ when polish da’ plate, even wit’ da’ oddah stuffs! I bet da’ Loco Moco stay just as mean, cuz!
Moving along to the Furikake Ahi & Steak, the Steak here really is as advertised, ONO! We think they heavily season the beef with salt and paprika, giving its beef flavor even further depth. It is a bit on the salty side, yet not overly so, but just at the tipping point of “whoah!” in a delicious way.
It’s also super juicy and tender, as you can see the drippings at the bottom of the plate. Doneness wise, I personally would have requested more rare, as this was more on the medium side, yet still, she go! If were craving just steak, I’d be totally happy with Ono Steaks plate.
Next up, we have the Furikake Ahi, first sampled without the Wasabi Aioli, revealed again, super tasty, tender and flaky-moist Ahi cooked about medium. Which like beef steak, I personally don’t like my Ahi cooked anything beyond rare, but hey, this wasn’t my plate. It was still good, but not as GREAT as when it was dipped in the included Wasabi Aioli Sauce!
OK, now with the Wasabi Aioli Sauce, this Furikake Ahi went from being 2 SPAM Musubi to a solid 5! Dang, that’s in it to win it! By far the best cooked Ahi I’ve had in quite some time. That Wasabi Aioli really rounded out this dish well, and if this sounds good to you, I think you’ll be really happy with it, just make sure to put that sauce on it!
Next up we have my Smoked Meat plate. Dude. MO-NEY! More than “money”, “BANK”!!! It has just the right amount of smoke and level of cooked doneness, still retaining lots of moisture in the pork meat, yet being very tender. The island style shoyu-based marinade they use leans on the sweeter side, yet not too sweet. According to owner Keoki, they use the same marinade as a sauce when they pan-fry it for serving, so you get extra “kick”.
I also like how they slice the smoked meat thin, as it’s easy to eat with the caramelized onions and rice in one nice combined bite. Then you hit it da’ creamy mac salad right aftah da’ salty, porky,smokey-sweet meat and BAM!
If you love island style smoke meat, when in Waimanalo, make sure you come to Ono Steaks and GET THE SMOKE MEAT PLATE. WINNAHZ!
Speaking of Mac Salad, Ono Steaks’ is right on point. Simple, creamy, and again, simple. Macaroni is perfectly al dente, and Mayo’ is Best Foods. Nuff. She go.
Finishing where we started, we have Ono Steaks’ Fresh Fish Taco, which as some Yelpers have proclaimed, I shall have to agree, this is up there for “Best Fish Taco” on the island. Seriously. AWESOME!
Like the Wasabi Aioli that went with the Furikake Ahi, I really think its what they’re putting in the Sweet Chili Aioli that’s in this Fish Taco that’s making it taste just OUTSTANDING. There’s this richness about that sauce that’s hard to pinpoint: butter or cream, maybe? I dunno, but again, there’s this “rich bite” in that sauce that totally punches out the flavor of the generous piece of sauteed Ono in this taco.
Then you get that crunch from the cabbage and tropical fruity contrast from the Mango-Papaya Salsa, along with the heartiness from the soft flour tortillas and it is just a perfectly executed Fish Taco.
I’ve had good fish tacos and bad (I mean BAD) fish tacos, but this my friend is a GREAT FISH TACO!
Summing it, my Ono Steaks Fresh Fish Taco and Smoked Meat Plate were the PERFECT CHOICE. And so was Diner K’s Furikake Ahi with Wasabi Aoili and 8 oz. Steak, along with the “side action” Roast Pork with Brown Gravy plate. All EXCELLENT and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Gotta’ come back to try da’ garlic shrimp and so much more!
If you’re ever in Waimanalo and looking for a great place to grind, check out Ono Steaks and Shrimp Shack. Broke da’ mout’ onolicious winnahz!!!
Ono Steaks & Shrimp Shack
41-037 Wailea Street
Tel. (808) 259-0808
The Tasty Island rating:
(5) Superb. Worthy of repeat visits or purchases. (Broke Da’ Mout’!)
- Ono Steaks & Shrimp Shack – Yelp user reviews
P.S. Here’s photos I took yesterday on a GORGEOUS sunny Sunday at Baby Makapu’u Beach, a.k.a. “Baby Mak’s”. Enjoy. ;-)