I just had dinner for the first time at the Mahalo Grille and was delighted with everything. The service was friendly and efficient, the meal was delicious. My husband and I had the prix fixe meal (four courses) and each course was prepared and served to perfection.
We both started with the Pupu platter - a sampling of various Hawaiin/Asian hors d'oeuvres (crab cake, two fried won-tons and coconut prawn) with a dipping sauce. Just enough to whet the appetite and not too much to spoil it. We each had the green salad next. Again, portions that were appropriate for the remaining two courses. The salad was made with spring greens, tossed in a delicate dressing and garnished with a few halved cherry tomatoes, croutons (made from hawaiin bread, I think) and caramelized onions. A refreshing and tasty break from the goat cheese and candied nut variety.
For our entrees we each selected something different - I chose the vanilla prawns while my husband decided on the filet mignon. Each of the entrees were served with mixed vegetables (cut asparagus, baby bok choy, red peppers, chopped mushrooms and julienned carrots) and our choice of jasmine rice or wasabi mashed potatoes. I had the rice while my husband had the potatoes. The rice stood on its own - nothing one needs to do to jasmine rice in my opinion to improve on it - and was a good contrast to the rich vanilla sauce and lightly seasoned veggies. I hadn't tried vanilla prawns before, so I have nothing aginst which to compare them, but I found them to be sumptuously rich and flavorful. My husband's filet was cooked just as he had asked - rare - and the asian-inspired sauce that was used as the main seasoning was delicate in both flavor and amount - just enough to add an interesting flavor to the meat without detracting from it.
Neither one of us had room for the dessert, so declined the chance to try it. But, at the time the bill was presented to us, so was the dessert that we waived - nicely packaged in a little black box so that we could take it home to enjoy later. This is not the most expensive restaurant on the block, nor is it the least - in our opinion this seems to be about what one should expect to pay for the type of food that is prepared and the quality of service. With two glasses of wine (at the higher end of the by-the-glass price, our bill was just over $75. We will definitely go back to the Mahalo Grille.
Two friends and I dropped by last night for appetizers and drinks before our "Sex and the City" movie outing at Regal Hacienda. Since we weren't particularly hungry, we ordered two appetizers and one entree to share --- hoisin pork ribs, tuna poke and vanilla prawns. Our drinks included a mango-tini, a lemon-tini and one other cocktail I can't recall as well as a glass of wine and two coffees. I think our total after tax and tip was a bit north of $100.
We sat outside and the weather was gorgeous last night, so the three of us enjoyed a rare "ladies night out." I don't know if we would have been as happy if we had sat inside, since at 6pm not a single table was occupied and I don't know if I saw many people inside at 7:30pm when we left.
I'll let the other CH that was with me last night share her observations about the food. I thought my drink (lemon-tini) was quity tasty, but the food portions were really small. Especially the vanilla prawns that came with exactly 4 modest-sized shrimp, a small scoop of plain white rice and a scoop's worth of sauteed mixed vegetables (mostly red peppers, a few sliced shitake mushrooms and two baby bok choy). Thank goodness we're light eaters!
I thought the ribs were cooked well, but then I like sweet ribs. Our order came with 4 ribs and I took the remaining two ribs home for my husband, since none of my tablemates cared for them. The only dish I'd order again is the tuna poke stack with mangos and avocados served with fried wontons. Interestingly enough, our waiter steered us away from most of the appetizers we tried to order (said the fried onions were really heavy and huge, the lettuce cups too salty), which is how we ended up with two appetizers and an entree. My fellow CH felt he was simply trying to "upsell," rather than genuinely helpful.
The coffee there is served with whipped half and half on a small plate with raw white and brown sugar cubes. My friend ordered her coffee first and I ordered mine after she had almost finished her cup. When I ordered my coffee, we were shocked when the waiter tried to get me to use her remaining cream rather than bringing me my own fresh order of cream! Perhaps he was annoyed that we had ordered so little to eat, but we thought that was quite tacky. And as I mentioned previously, the place was practically deserted on a Saturday night!
I would recommend this place for drinks and appetizers, but only if you can get a table outside when the weather is nice. Otherwise, I think there are better places to eat on Main Street in downtown Pleasanton.
I agree with CVHound, drinks and appetizers are the way to go here. This place is perfect for a girl's night out or a first date, but not a go to destination for food enthusiasts. Very nice presentations, but I was just not overly enthusiastic about the food itself. First, I'm not a huge fan of the whole walnut prawns trend. I remember eating that dish with my parents easily twenty years, longer, ago.
And, I didn't really like the tuna poke which was more fried wontons than tuna poke. The ribs, too, disappointed me. I thought the meat was somewhat tough and not much of it.
The only drinks we ordered were the "tinis" -- tropical flavored -- so I don't know about the more straightforward stuff. But these drinks were tasty, in a fruity with tiny weenee umbrella kind of way.
However, on a gorgeous summer night with a couple of drinks and the street crowd to watch, a pleasant way to pass the early evening with good friends.
Gee, thanks for mentioning this. Looking at the menu it seems really interesting ... I do have my trash food standards and am not one that likes the traditional Pu Pu Platter to get creative but ...
Pu Pu Platter
Cilantro & Lime Calamari, Ahi Tuna Poke, Asian Chicken Won Tons, Hoisin Pork Ribs
And them chicken won tons are really updated versions of crab rangoon ... Asian Chicken Won Tons Infused with Cream Cheese, Cilantro, Jalapeño and Fresh Lime Juice
Seems more like a Trader Vik's / Roy's type of restaurant than Hula Hut
They seem a little ambitious though. Does something like this work?
Island Paella Bay Shrimp, Mango Jalapeno Chicken Sausage, Pulled Pork, Pineapple Mango Salsa
Anything to avoid?
Anyone tried the winemaker dinners? Keller Estates, Talbott Vineyards, and Justin are coming up.
Martini purists cover your eyes ... I'm craving the Mango-Tini - Mango Vodka, Mango Juice, Mango Puree,Triple Sec
Though I think I'll pass on the Bleu Cheese-Tini
425 Main St, Pleasanton, CA 94566
I agree with WCF that this is a place well worth trying and, to do it justice, you'll need to go several times to test the menu. Link: http://www.mahalogrille.com/
However, if another Hula Hut is what you're after, e.g. plate lunches, etc., then Kilohana Grill in San Ramon would be a closer match, sans most of the appetizers and Filipino dishes. http://www.kilohanagrill.com/menu2.html
Closer to HH's menu would be HiBar in Martinez & Antioch/Brentwood with a strong offering of Chinese items. Sorry I can't come up with a link.
There's a world of difference between Hula Hut and Mahalo Grill, the later being a lot more upscale. Both are good for what they are, it just depends on what you're looking for.