Macaroni Grill Honolulu, Hawaii in Ala Moana
Me and my family decided to have a 2015 “Christmas Dinner” for ourselves before the hectic Christmas parties begin. So, we landed in Macaroni Grill in Ala Moana to enjoy a potential nice night out.
It was a Monday evening so it was relatively slow in the restaurant with just the remains of the Monday Night Football crowd slowly depleting around the bar as the game was finished. So, a 2 minute wait for a table was all that was needed.
The typical meet and greet was given. We were seated and the host announced of the soup special and “fresh catch” fish which was Roasted Mushroom Soup and Ahi tuna. Our waitress, named Jocelyn came up a bit after, introduced herself by drawing her name with crayons onto a disposable paper topped tabletop. She restated and wrote out the soup du jour and the fish of the day.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill is a casual Italian restaurant with the ambiance of a fine dining establishment. There is no dress code required as people were dining in their surf shorts and slippers (or better known as flip flops to you fellow mainlanders). Don’t worry it is normal for this type of attire here in Hawaii, if you don’t know yet. But, we opted to dress up a bit this time to add an elegant vibe to our dinner.
Jocelyn left us with the menu to salivate over and took our drink order. We ordered water all around and I ordered a glass of their exclusive house Chianti wine.
Their menu is fairly small and typical for an Italian restaurant of antipasto, pasta dishes, pizzas, main entrees with proteins, dessert, etc., and of course they had macaroni dishes. We opted to try out the soup of the day of Roasted Mushroom and ordered, a Butternut Squash Ravioli for my wife, Shrimp Alfredo for our daughter (yes she has a peculiar typical child-like taste and appetite (they didn’t have a shrimp dish on the kid’s menu), and I ordered a Veal Chop with Roasted Potatoes.
After taking our orders, Jocelyn brought us our order of soup, complimentary bread that came with a presentation of Olive Oil seasoned with Fresh Cracked Black Pepper. My wine also was delivered. It was kind of awkward that they served it to me in the same glass as the water glass as the table right next to us served the same house wine in the more formal Bordeaux wine glasses. I’m not sure why they served it to me that way but it felt pretty awkward and like I was being treated differently. Maybe it was because the ordered the whole bottle that they were given a “special treatment” of wine glasses. I’m not sure.
Our order was delivered by a kitchen food runner soon after we were done with the very lovely and flavorful soup. The food was presented and “auctioned off” to the respective orderer, and he offered freshly grated parmesan cheese to whomever desired some of their dish.
I have to say, the food was good! Not great though as it seemed as if it was waiting under a heat lamp for a little while before it was served to us. So, the freshly cooked sense kind of died a little. My veal chop was cooked very well though with a perfect doneness of medium to medium well. Side vegetable of Broccolini was blanched well and the roasted potato wedges had a very nice flavor of a wood fire oven.
Me and my wife shaped dishes to try and her raviolis were equally good. It had very nice creamy flavor, a little on the heavy side though, with complimentary flavors of browned off pancetta that topped the raves. Very nice. And as for the little one, she just picked out her shrimp and left the a little underdone (for my preference) pasta. The dish was typical and “meh”.
Overall, the food was good. What lacked that kind of affected our overall experience was the service from our waitress. It seemed as if she really wasn’t all there to serve us. She did come back from time to time to check up on us, but it was kind of like we wasn’t her main focus, which of course is not but that is kind of what you want to feel like when you are being served at a restaurant. A “hello, what would you like, here it is, need anything else, thank you bye” kind of service was provided which killed the experience a bit.
We ordered a strawberry cheesecake to finish out our meal. It was mediocre and tasted like it was an older piece that sat in the chill (refrigerator) for a while. So that was also “meh”.
To say that we would eat there again, it’s not likely. The only circumstance would be if we were invited to eat there then we would. It is not a place that stood out to us as a place that we have to come back and eat there again. The only thing that really stood out to me was their house wine. It was a very good Chianti. In fact, I would go back there just to purchase a bottle of the wine, but that’s about it.
I think if this restaurant was located in a standalone building, it would’t have the substance to be in business for the long term. It is only because it has a great location in one of the nation’s largest open air malls that they are able to be in business.
Recommendation: Sand bag it… “Meh”…