The Most Magical MW Meal of My Life

MW ahi nachos
Unagi butterfish arancini
Jidori chicken
Miso honey glazed butterfish
MW truffle braised short ribs
Makaha mango shave ice
Chocolate chip cookie and MW candy bar

One portion of family members on my dad’s side of the family is a collection of some of my favorite people not only in our family, but generally. So when they invite us to their house for family dinner or a baby shower or there’s any opportunity to get together (we previously rode motorcycles with them a lot during the start of COVID!), I gladly jump at it! For this specific event, we celebrated my cousin’s baby shower for her first child. All of their family baby showers are fun and exciting as we get together as an entire lady family, but this one topped the charts food wise! We went to MW Restaurant for brunch and I enjoyed the most incredible 10/10 meal of my life of the past 8+ years (my last impeccable meal was at Gary Danko, our favorite restaurant in San Francisco!).

For appetizers, we had a mixture of items on the menu and one incredible starter that wasn’t. We had the famous MW ahi nachos that came with spicy avocado salsa on won ton chips; unagi butterfish arancini topped with nori tsukudani and hon-katsuo; the farmer’s salad of greens, Mrs. Cheng’s tofu, local vegetables, and a yuzu miso vinaigrette; and the star of the show (not pictured, lol!): wagyu sliders with caramelized onions on potato mochi buns! I once tried the ahi nachos before I became a dabbler in the world of raw fish, but this time they were an absolute treat! The ahi was salty and fresh flavored with lots of shoe and paired beautifully with creamy avocado salsa that had a spicy bite of hot sauce and crispy puffy won ton chips. 4.5/5 stars in my book. I mentioned earlier that the sliders were my favorite appetizer, but the unagi butterfish arancini was tied for first place. Each arancini was the size of a large cherry and they were filled with fresh fish flavors in a creamy sauce covered with crispy panko. I’m not certain what the sauce on top actually was, but the pulpy nori tsukudani underneath gave a soft contrast in texture and an added salty element. I would be lying if I said I had no more than 3 of them (and to be clear, we were sharing all of these plates among lots of ladies!), and they were incredible. The salad with tofu was exactly what I wanted in a fresh vegetable side. The flavors were slightly muted, but complemented the savory appetizers well, especially as the yuzu miso dressing had every right note when I’m longing for my favorite kewpie roasted sesame. The wagyu sliders were a welcomed surprise when we already savored the first three appetizers (a baby shower with lots of food is the type of baby shower I’d gladly attend). Each slider was two bite sized and had juicy and melty miniature wagyu patties covered in sweet and condensed caramelized onions. My favorite part of the slider though, was the potato mochi bun: bouncy, chewy, and slightly candied, if you can believe! I wish MW made a human-sized version of this slider!

And while we thought the food stopped there, we were mightily shocked to see massive trays and bowls filled with proteins and rice for our main courses! If heaven were real, it would feel like seeing beautiful plates of food arriving for our consumption. For mains, we had the fried jidori chicken with garlic shoyu sauce and baby romaine; miso honey glazed butterfish with taegu and kahuku sea asparagus; and truffle braised short ribs with a mushroom and truffle sauce and vegetable stir fry—all paired with perfectly cooked white rice. The jidori chicken tasted like the best version of Korean chicken you’d ever have. The batter was extraordinarily crispy and the chicken was juicy and tender. I could have lopped up the extra sauce with all the rice in the world. I almost never order miso butterfish on the regular at any establishment because it’s usually extremely expensive and tiny in comparison to my beloved salmon and new favorite saba offerings. However, these miso butterfish were perfectly portioned for our multi-course spread and they were flaky, salty-sweet, and deeply flavored. The skin was crisp and glazed in the delectable miso sauce and the vegetables were spicy and well cooked. I loved this butterfish more than words! Lastly, a dish I would never order ever: the truffle braised short ribs! My god! How I should order these whenever possible! I despise the flavor and smell of truffle. There’s almost nothing else besides cilantro that angrily punches my nose and tongue the way truffle does. HOWEVER, these short ribs were not filled with the woody disgusting trash taste/smell of truffle, but were coated with a rich wine-flavored sauce over fork tender, melting short ribs. The ribs had a delightful amount of fat so they weren’t stringy or dry, and I could have eaten them every day and been happy forever.

We finished the perfect lunch with individual Makaha mango shave ice with kafir lemongrass pana cotta, haupia tapioca, mango sorbet, and shaved mango; browned butter sea salt chocolate chip cookies; and tiny MW candy bars with peanut butter crunch, Hawaiian sea salt macadamia nut caramel, and valrhona chocolate ganache. Again, another dish I wouldn’t normally pick was the mango shave ice and no, not because I hate mango (in fact I buy 9 pounds of mango every weekend during mango season for my own consumption). I’m not big on mixing creamy flavors or textures with fruity ones. You’ll never see me pick strawberry ice cream or a pavlova topped with berries, but I adored the way the light pana cotta and haupia tapioca mixed with the fresh crunchy bite of the mango shave ice. Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate my feelings on the aforementioned desserts and/or condensed milk on my shave ice?? When the MW staff brought out the cookies and mini candy bars, everything was over for me. I ate the entire cookie and two candy bars and I nearly burst out of my little skirt. The cookie was crispy on the outside and extremely melty and chewy on the inside with a salty bite on top. Need I say more? And if you’re looking for the most amazing rich, flaky almost-like-Twix-and-Snickers-but-not-really candy bar, look no further than the MW candy bars and don’t forget to eat them all at first sight.

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