By Chris Ellis
Many uptown have been watching and anticipating the new branch of the popular East Harlem plate lunch and sushi spot, Makana. It appears to have started serving yesterday on the West side in Manhattan Valley. Makana Hawaiian & Japanese BBQ features a melting pot of popular dishes not usually found outside of Hawaii, and certainly rarely east of Los Angeles. To see that Makana is successful enough to open a second branch in NYC is a real treat.
Makana does serve sushi, but your correspondent chose to focus on the plate lunch dishes not ubiquitous on every street corner in Manhattan. A Seafood BBQ Combo plate came with teri beef, fried shrimp and fried mahi. Accompanying each plate is (not quite two scoops) rice, mac salad and a small green salad. The fried mahi was tasty, the shrimp a bit over-breaded and the teri beef was quite good. The mac salad was fresh and good, and the green salad had a typical ginger based dressing that you’ll recognize from any sushi joint combo plate. Rice was fresh and, well, rice is rice. A Kalua Pig plate came with the same accompaniments, and was a bit heavier on the cabbage than the pork. Finally Spam Musubi tasted just as it should, grilled spam atop rice with a nori wrapper.
I am excited to try out some other dishes such as the Loco Moco, a hamburger patty topped with fried egg and gravy with rice, and the Chicken Katsu, which is a breaded and fried chicken cutlet.
Manhattan Valley has seen a couple of new restaurants open up in the past six months around the West 106th Street and Amsterdam Avenue intersection, and Makana is a great addition to the mix. It’s serving up truly unique food not just for the city and neighborhood, but for the whole East Coast.
Makana is located at 161 West 106th Street (Amsterdam Ave.)