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Iwilei Eats: New Eagle Cafe

We recently celebrated Diner E’s birthday at New Eagle Cafe, located at the far Ewa end of the Nimitz Center, nearby “Big Box Alley” off Alakawa Street and Nimitz,  pretty much next door to Sensually Yours, if that gives you a more recognizable landmark. lol

A quick look around the dining room reveals a somewhat low-lit ambiance, which I personally prefer, so as fellow diners see less of the wrinkles and flaws on my aging face. lol

Someone on Yelp described the place as “divey”, however I didn’t think so, finding at least the main dining area reasonably clean and kept well, with again, that low lighting giving it almost a romantic feel if that were the occasion.

Let’s spock what stay get on top da’ menu, laddat…

The current daily specials for each day of the week are located on the backside of this takeout menu…

Gosh, so much to choose! Or what Pat calls “Counter Freeze”, which is when there’s so much to choose, you get stuck deciding on what. Of course before going there I went on Yelp to see what the trending popular dish was. To which you see above is their Hawaiian Chopped Steak — a local diner fave – being one of them. So that’s what I ordered…

New Eagle Cafe Hawaiian Chopped Steak $13.25

Diner A decided to try the Garlic Chicken…

New Eagle Cafe Garlic Chicken $12.75

Diner J went for the Chicken Katsu Curry…

New Eagle Cafe Chicken Katsu Curry $12.50

And last but not least, Diner E went for the Monday special, the Meatloaf Sandwich & Soup-of-the-Day Combo…

New Eagle Cafe Monday Special: Meatloaf Sandwich & Soup $11.60

Soup of the Day: Beef Barley

Hawaiian Chopped Steak

And? My Hawaiian Chopped Steak arrived at the table on a sizzling platter, yet, not sizzlin’? Wassup wit’ ‘dat? It was definitely super hot, but I would really have appreciated the “drama” of that audible snap, crackle ‘n pop, along with the aroma of the smoke given off the platter of beefy-veggie goodness had it been truly SIZZLIN’.

Upon first bite it, my other complaint was that the veggies were all mostly RAW, not being sauteed long enough. Raw enough where the celery was still stringy and the bell peppers still crunchy. I suppose that’s better than overcooked, but still. Only the tomatoes had cooked down enough in the time they had given it in the saute pan (or wok).

Thankfully da’ gravy was nicely thickened and beefy-gingery delicious, as was the somewhat char-flavored tender thinly-sliced beef “chopped steak” itself. That said, actually I’d say this tasted more like local style Beef Tomato than Chopped Steak. Which I of course love either one, so overall whatever they call it, I was pretty much a happy camper irregardless of the aforementioned cons, giving it 3 SPAM Musubi.

Diner J just couildn’t find much good to say about his Chicken Katsu Curry, mainly because the curry itself was in a word, “MEH”. Bland, bland, bland, with no unique character whatsoever. The chicken Katsu itself was moist inside, so he’ll give it that. And well, plain ‘ole steamed (from frozen) vegetables as a side to that isn’t exactly going to make up for any shortcomings of the main entree.

While not exactly “ooh-ing and aaahh-ing” Diner A gave his Garlic Chicken plate an A-OK, being moist ‘n tender inside, with a nicely done crispy finish and a tasty garlic sauce drizzled over that sort of Karaage style. I think the bed of cabbage is what helped round out the Garlic Chicken dish, giving it that added crunch and veggie contrast, and what they should have also put under the Chicken Katsu Curry.

Finally, while he pretty much enjoyed the “restaurant quality” flavor of the Beef Barley Soup, Diner E was just “MEH” about the Meatloaf Sammy. I mean you can clearly see even in the photos how DRY it looks, and it was. Not only that, he could tell they didn’t drown the top of the meatloaf with a ketchup type glaze when preparing it, but just made the loaf and stuck it in the oven with no topping at all.

Of course he tried to redeem it by drowning it with mayo’ and ketchup,  yet that hardly helped the lifeless, flavorless slabs of meatloaf within. I told him to ask for some brown gravy to pour over it, but he didn’t want to bother and dealt with it as is. Nor were the crinkle-cut fries (again frozen from package) anything to write home about. He originally was gonna’ order the Prime Rib Sandwich and Soup combo’, which he should have stuck with, being Prime Rib is another popular dish according to Yelpers. I was quite surprised at last minute he changed his mind and went with the Meatloaf version of beef instead.

As you can see, I actually could only finish about 1/3 of my “Hawaiian” Chopped Steak, as it was quite a big portion for me in one sitting, so took the rest back to the office for a “second wind”. I love “second wind” grind session, don’t you? lol

As for the service, our server was very “local” and friendly. You could tell she was new, as when we asked her what was popular or the favorites, she said “Shee, you know, I don’t know. Everything is good!” And we were like, “OK”, as if you go over their menu, “it’s HUUUGE” as you-know-who would say. Still, she promptly brought us water and kept our glasses topped throughout our stay. Our order came out fairly quick, although not exactly all at once. It was like Diner E got his first. Then about 2 minutes later the next. Then 2 minutes later the final two of four orders. So diiner E had to wait about 5 minute while his plate sat there before we could all say the proverbial, “Hai, itadakimasu!” (Let’s eat!).

While there were obviously shortcomings on this particular visit, I have hope for this place and appreciate having local diners like this as an option, with so many ono-sounding dishes on the menu worth a try, as proven by our fellow Yelpers. Plenty of free parking also is a big plus.

Summing it up on this first time visit at New Eagle Cafe, 3 Yelp Stars, converted here to be 3 SPAM Musubi, meaning AVERAGE.

Which for the record, the SPAM Musubi rating system will soon be drastically changed/updated to match Yelps rating system, where 1 SPAM Musubi will mean POOR to 5 SPAM Musubi meaning EXCELLENT. I’ll go more into details on that later.

O tanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu, Diner E!

New Eagle Cafe
1130 N. Nimitz Hwy, A-100 (Nimitz Business Center)
Honolulu, Hawaii  96817

Tel. (808) 545-2233

The Tasty Island rating (based on a single 1st time visit):

(3) AVERAGE (she go)

Related links
New Eagle Cafe – Yelp user reviews

The Tasty Island related links
Kenny’s… in the Kam Shopping Center in Kalihi-eee
Kalihi Eats: New Violet’s Grill

P.S. For dessert after our New Eagle Cafe lunch, us fellahz our “Simpletons”, being just fine with this box of Big Island Candies Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Milk Chocolate Trio Diner E received as a gift for his birthday that day…

Like Big Island’s own Hawaiian Host, the QUALITY of Big Island Candies’ milk chocolate is DA’ BES-ES-EST! By far my favorite milk chocolate, not just for excellent flavor and texture, but because it’s made in Hawaii. ;-)

Huntin’ for ’em before starting work… he he he….


4 thoughts on “Iwilei Eats: New Eagle Cafe

  • July 28, 2016 at 4:19 am

    Pomai, my cousin in Singapore would like these chocolate treats so very. Will
    get some and island sasuages and kimchee hotdogs. Will visit HongKong coming back.

  • July 28, 2016 at 8:07 am

    I have had that chop steak there, and would give exactly the same review. Chop steak at Likelike Drive In is same recipe, a slightly smaller serving (but they present a full meal, including a Loves’s dinner roll), but cooked to perfection.

  • July 28, 2016 at 10:24 am

    It must be very difficult for vegetarians at “local style” restaurants in Hawaii

  • July 28, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    @ h – Pretty much. The menu here is the perfect example of old school “local style” comfort food, which yes, are typically mostly meat-centric.

    As mentioned before IIRC, when I went 100% vegetarian for several months a long time ago in my early 20’s, I knew my dining-out options were going to be limited (and tempting to go back to eating meat). Yet I was always able to find something on the menu that was meatless. Of course, Honolulu has no shortage of hipster/fusion vegetarian places like this nowadays, or menu options at “regular” restaurants that are similar to that.

    @ Pat – I knew you’d chime-in on that one. I like how you spell it in the present tense form as “Chop Steak” vs. “Chopped Steak”. As it should be “Shave Ice”, not “Shaved Ice”! But yeah, I’d definitely call NEC’s take on it Beef Tomato, not Chop Steak.

    @ Amy – This was the first time I’ve tried a pure chocolate “bar” from Big Island Candies. Everything in the past was a variant of their original Chocolate-dipped Macadamia Nut Shortbread cookies that everyone under the sun are copying now. But yeah, that Milk Chocolate Macadamia Nut Trio was total WINNAHZ!  Highly recommended you get that for your cousin!


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