It takes all kinds of people to make the world go 'round -- that is, to keep the economy churning -- and MAC 24-7 is aiming to lure all insomniacs and those who thrive on a hectic 24-7 lifestyle. You know, the ones you know never to call before noon. Our sleep time is their work/play/chow time.
That doesn't shut out the three-square-meals-a-day crowd. Whether you take your main meal at noon, 6 p.m. or 2 a.m., you'll find the same menu of MAC's "Modern American Cooking" -- classics updated for a contemporary clientele -- available on demand.
Since switching from Radisson to Hilton management, the property has undergone a lavish redo. MAC 24-7 takes over the spot formerly occupied by Trellises restaurant and its varied buffets.
MAC 24-7 marks an ambitious attempt to win over a local crowd. That's important when one considers all the hotel rooms being lost to condotel conversions. With visitors being overtaken by resident owner-occupants, Waikiki's restaurants may need to tweak their menus and marketing strategies over the next five to 10 years.
The restaurant is a sleek modernist surprise. I was expecting to see yet another tropical-themed hotel coffee shop, only to find a vibrant red-and-purple interior that may hold special appeal to women of the Red Hat Society, whose members don red hats and purple garb during group gatherings. I promise you won't go blind looking at it.
MAC 24-7's main claim to fame is the notion of ordering breakfast any time of day. After a back-to-the-'50s experience at IHOP, I really wasn't expecting much, but MAC 24-7's menu really does live up to the "Modern" part of its name.
Indulging in a small plate of sweet and sticky chili chicken wings ($9), I found them lightly crisped and coated with a thin layer of honey. I don't know where the chili part of the equation was, but I didn't miss it, especially not with a dab of accompanying cream cheese and onion dressing.
A serving of deep-fried rock shrimp and calamari ($12) also got a boost from its mayo-based chipotle sauce.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The MAC Tropical Pancake is topped with pineapple, coconut and macadamia nuts, and served with four syrups: maple, guava, pineapple and coconut.
OK, this isn't exactly delicate cuisine, but a 24/7 crowd probably isn't one to crave diet fare.
The main man behind the menu is executive chef Reynaldo Dasalla, who's quite familiar with Waikiki trends, having worked at the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel and Wailana Malia Restaurant, among others, before joining the Radisson Waikiki Prince Kuhio four years ago.
Understanding our chop suey style of eating, he's pretty much put everything on the menu, from miso soup ($5) to a half-pound angus burger ($13) to roasted vegetable lasagna ($14).
I get the feeling that Dasalla thinks locals eat a lot. Either that, or he's extremely generous, because he's aware that Waikiki prices are about double that of the outside world. Thus, his omelet ($12) boasts four eggs instead of the typical three. And if you're having pancakes, forget about ordering anything else. You'll get a stack of three, each measuring about a foot across, as wide as a pizza. That's-a some pancake! They suggest it's enough to feed a family of four, but I ordered pancakes ($11) topped with banana slices, with melted dollops of milk chocolate and walnuts, and three of us put away only a quarter of it. The leftovers fed 10 when brought into the office the next day.
Other pancake choices include "The Elvis," peanut butter swirled with bacon; "Kona Coffee Mocha" drizzled with warm butter caramel; and "Cinnamon Streusel" with vanilla glaze.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
In the MAC 24/7 red-and-purple dining room are Marina Jones, left, director of restaurants for the Hilton Waikiki/Prince Kuhio; executive chef Rey Dasalla; and Morena Herrera, director of restaurant operations.
Ordering a Chinese chicken salad ($13); tomato and Maui onion salad ($9); or classic Caesar ($7) might alleviate some of your diet guilt at this point.
It might be tempting to try the bento breakfast ($13), but the fillet of grilled salmon offered with it is rather small and easily overcooked. Sides of a soft-boiled egg, steamed rice, pickles and miso soup aren't very exciting, but I'm sure there are lots of people who don't want to be overwhelmed by food early in the morning.
Of course, you can't serve up comfort cuisine under the name MAC without offering macaroni and cheese. The white cheddar mac-and-cheese ($12), dotted by peas and topped with a crisped layer of bread crumbs, was a hit with my friends, though it didn't taste enough like cheddar, and its Velveeta-like consistency didn't appeal to me.
Similarly, MAC 24-7's pulled kalua pork sandwich ($12) was more shredded than pulled, and with the barbecue sauce too mushy for my taste. They need to either come up with a true pulled pork sandwich or true kalua pork sandwich, or maybe offer both.
"Killer cupcakes" ($6) made from classic cake recipes such as pineapple upside-down with Malibu rum, Devil's Food peanut butter cup, haupia, and macadamia nut bread pudding round out the menu, but I had to pass. The pancakes had served as meal and dessert.