Macaroni Grill

MG06.JPGMG01.JPGThere are a bunch of new restaurants opening up on the top floor of Ala Moana Shopping Center, the first of them being Romano’s Macaroni Grill. At a guild BBQ last week a bunch of us decided that we needed to pay the new place a visit, fueled by the discovery that one of our friends works there.

Jonny Schleif used to be my best friend’s boyfriend back in… well, millions of years ago. He worked at the legendary Trattoria (legendary for good-looking waiters!) for 12 years, & after it closed down this past March, Jonny ended up here at the Macaroni Grill.

Nice place, Jonny.

MG04.JPGMG03.JPGMG02.JPGAt 6:45pm there was a huge crowd of hungry people standing around the entrance. I immediately suffered unpleasant flashbacks of an hour & a half wait for The Cheesecake Factory in Waikiki.

Fortunately the wait was nowhere near that long.

MG07.JPGMG12.JPGMG13.JPGMG’s appetizer list is short & sweet: Mushroom Ravioli, Tomato Bruschetta, Shrimp & Artichoke Dip, Calamari Fritti, Mozzarella Fritta, & a sampler plate. Well. We ordered the sampler plate.

For $9.99, Romano’s Sampler had Bruschetta, Calamari, & Mozzarella Fritta. The calamari was yummy & the mozzarella… well, how can you go wrong with fried mozzarella?

MG11a.JPGMG11.JPGMG10.JPGHere’s a good one: the women’s restroom says “Men” on the inside of the door. Ha ha, very funny. As I stood there trying to get a good shot of the door (reflective surfaces = hard!), a fellow female finished washing her hands & stood there in confusion for a moment before asking me if we were in the Men’s restroom.

Pause for a moment. Imagine me rolling my eyeballs.

Ok, moving on.

MG08.JPGMG09.JPGMG21.JPGThe line was full of men in white who didn’t have a chance to look who was taking pictures of them from the side. The bar was similarly packed; what excellent business on a Wednesday night! And post-Christmas too!

The bar was also packed. Not exactly an ocean view, but considering the flocks of young women milling around outside waiting for tables after a hard day of shopping, I’d say there was a decent People Watching experience to be had, at least for the guys.

MG15.JPGMG16.JPGMG14.JPGThe 5 of us ordered 4 Chicken Scaloppine & 1 Pasta Milano, with Ryan opting to be the rebel. But boy did his bowl o’ pasta look good.

The $13.50 Scaloppine consisted of chicken breast, mushrooms, artichoke, capers & smoked prosciutto. I’m a huge fan of capers & quite frankly if you just heated up some capers for me I’d make a meal of it. It was ultra rich & didn’t need the fresh-grated parmesan. But I took some anyway. In the pursuit of knowledge, of course.

MG17.JPGI barely made it through half of my dinner, & I’m not sure how the others fared. Jonny came out & mentioned a few desserts, the “Ravioli” somewhat sticking in everyone’s heads; something like a Snickers bar dumpling. Unfortunately, no brulèe was to be had.

Our server Lori came out with a dessert tray, swivelling the tray as she explained the features. When the Cafe Latte Cheesecake was brought to the front, a collective gasp arose from the table. Lori then went away for a little while, probably chuckling evilly to herself, while we (painfully) debated desserts.

In the end, Mark ordered the Ravioli & Channon got the Tiramisu, which I got to have a big fluffy bite of. Although we all yearned for that slice of Cafe Latte Cheesecake… we were afraid.

MG18.JPGMG19.JPGMark: I think I’m gonna go with the Ravioli.
Ryan: How can you guys still have room for dessert?
Me: Ryan, maybe you don’t understand the concept of Multiple Stomachs.
Ryan: ?
Me: You have a stomach for, say, an entrèe & it gets full. But you still have, say, an empty Dessert stomach, or a Popcorn stomach. So no matter how much you eat at dinner, you still have room for popcorn. It’s true!
Mark: Yeah.
Joy: I don’t have that.
Channon: I don’t have that. My system is very simple.
Lauren: Whatever.
Channon: But I do have a compactor.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill



7 Comments so far

  1. Bufo (unregistered) on January 11th, 2006 @ 10:41 am

    Hmm. There is a location just 5 mins from where I live. I think I will try it out.

    BTW, I remember that guy Johnny. My friend Darren used to work with him at the Trattoria and he used to bring Johnny to the Village Voice (Back in the day) to play Cyberball.

    OMFG I remember Village. The good old snooker table & the friendly nickel machine chronics. How I miss that place. And are you referring to Darren Asato?

  2. Ryan (unregistered) on January 11th, 2006 @ 11:31 am

    Synr = Mark’s undead rogue
    Syner = Mark’s tauren druid
    Mark didn’t have chicken scaloppine.

    Thanks for taking care of us Jonny. The Milano was very yummy. The ravioli desert was good, the tiramisu ok. But that cafe latte cake thing looked so good. The calamari was very good too. Don’t listen to Channon, the bread and olive oil doesn’t tasted like soap.

  3. Yvette (unregistered) on January 12th, 2006 @ 4:15 pm

    How funny – what a small world. We have found Schlief…He’s my classmate from old school days – I just had lunch there yesterday – but now when I return – I’ll be sure to look him up! Thanks for the play-by-play review. I had a great first experience there too for the lunch crowd..and learned a thing or two about writing my own name upside down…a lunchmate who had been to RMG in Cali said they have something called the honor system there…drink all the wine you want and get charged only for the glasses that you “claim” to have drunk…so you could kill two bottles of wine and just say you had one glass on the BILL. no questions asked…UNFORTUNATELY, our server Leigh yesterday squashed our dreams of wine filled dining excursions…as Hawaii law prohibits the Honolulu-RMG from carrying on the tradition. auwe!

  4. Bufo (unregistered) on January 13th, 2006 @ 6:41 am

    “OMFG I remember Village. The good old snooker table & the friendly nickel machine chronics. How I miss that place. And are you referring to Darren Asato?”

    Yup, thats him. Wonder whats he up to?
    You know that I used to work at VV back in the day. Lazy days……..

  5. cara (unregistered) on January 15th, 2006 @ 11:50 am

    we just wound up eating there this week too! we went right after work so we got there before 6pm, not too bad of a wait then. however, they put us at a table where we eagerly tried to make eye contact with all the waiters walking past us (wondering why no one was stopping to give us water!). finally i flagged down this poor girl who barely glimpsed at us (that counted as eye contact!) and asked her if she could find out why we had no waiter, we’d been waiting for 20 min. and could i please have some water. turns out they had put us at a table where the waiter had not shown up to work and no one caught the mistake, their excuse was they had only been open for a short while (that was kinda lame). anyways, she was really cool and we agree, the mozerella is yummy. matt couldn’t decide on 1 thing so he got the order with lasagna, chix parmesan & a canelloni. they were all pretty good, we decided we like the food at verbano’s better. but the strawberry cheesecase was really yummy! thanks for the yummy looking pics, we will go back again & try some of those things one day.

  6. Kijimuna (unregistered) on January 15th, 2006 @ 8:16 pm

    Been wanting to try this local branch…now I gotta make a better effort to go there! I’m a sucker for eateries that have paper tablecloths and crayons. I like to draw wacky (somewhat psycho-Pop) like cartoons and leave the staff wondering what nutzo they just served :-P

  7. Bufo (unregistered) on February 1st, 2006 @ 9:14 am

    Ok. Tried the location here in Portland Oregon, (Streets of Tanasbourne) Not so great. Service was excellent but, me being a picky eater did not quite like what was served. I guess location does matter. I went in a party of three and tried their food and still was not impressed. I still prefer a local home style Italian restaurant called “Nona Emmillia”.

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