Nordstrom Marketplace Café
Ala Moana Center / 953-6100
There are at least three dozen other dining options within Ala Moana Center, but you can always count on eager shoppers to flock to the newest, as if it's going to disappear tomorrow.
I know, I know, the full-scale Nordstrom took a long time to get here, and I'm pretty sure it's not going to disappear anytime soon, but try telling that to the people willing to wait a half-hour for a chance to be among the first to lunch at Nordstrom's Marketplace Café. (Hint: There's no line at dinner and the menu and prices are the same.)
That said, Nordstrom's Marketplace Café is handling the daily lunch crowd -- up to 191 at a time -- with aplomb. Those waiting in line have been treated to strips of mozzarella-stuffed-crust Margherita pizza.
The cafeteria line setup allows you to see all the choices available. You'll may make one decision while reading the menu in line, and change your mind once you see the showcases stocked with sandwiches of roast beef Romano ($11.50) with fontina cheese, arugula and balsamic marinated red onions; hickory-smoked turkey ($10.25) with Swiss cheese, avocado and more on multigrain baguette; or a Nicoise salad ($13.95) of organic greens layered with a appetizer-size portion of seared ahi.
Salads are made before your eyes. Other dishes requiring more heating or assembly are brought to your table, such as pepperoni and wild mushroom ($11.25) or kalua pork ($11.50) pizzas.
At night, you might be more willing to splurge on a specialty of salmon ($14.95) roasted with a thin layer of Dijon mustard and mild herbs. It's accompanied by roasted zucchini, summer squash, red potatoes and corn on the cob. Rosemary and garlic Tuscan roast chicken ($12.95) is another option, and if it's just the veggies and potatoes you want, they're $9.95.
Kids' meals also are available, at $5.25 to $6.50, although I saw most parents sharing off their plates. And don't miss those point-of-purchase desserts. They do know a few retailing tricks or two.
Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, open until 9 p.m. Saturdays and 6 p.m. Sundays. Cost is about $15 per person.