POSTED: 01:37 a.m. HST, Oct 31, 2012
Eggs 'n Things Waikiki has been a beloved institution since it opened in 1974, particularly for a generation of Wave Waikiki patrons who found the late-night breakfast spot perfect for recharging depleted food reserves and sobering up before driving home.
Over the years, those club kids aged out, too tired (or lazy) to drive to Waikiki, the Wave closed, the restaurant started closing earlier and the prime demographic switched to Japanese visitors with a love of pancakes.
Locals continued to voice their love of the restaurant along with a desire for a couple of things that would make it easier for them to drop in: a more convenient location and the return of late-night hours.
So consider the new Eggs 'n Things the place for kamaaina, easy to find at the intersection of Piikoi and Kona streets (between Payless Shoes and Nijiya Market), and open as late as midnight Fridays and Saturdays, as opposed to 10 p.m. at the 343 Saratoga Road location. Beginning next year, the Ala Moana shop may remain open until 4 a.m. on weekends.
But, such is the universal love of pancakes, waffles and eggs, that locals will find themselves jockeying for seats alongside Japanese visitors who have simultaneously discovered this second location.
|EGGS ’N THINGS ALA MOANA
451 Piikoi St., next to Payless Shoes >> 538-EGGS (3447)
Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays, and 6 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays
Nearly 40 years of experience means Eggs 'n Things staff was prepared for lines when it opened. Take-out menus give instructions for dealing with crowds, from checking in to how to pay.
On weekends, unless you're among the first in line in the morning, the reality from breakfast to early lunch time is about 45 minutes to an hour to get in and about 20 to 25 minutes from the time you place a food order until it arrives. If you're hungry, you may want to go elsewhere. If you can wait until about 1 p.m., you may be able to stroll right in after the morning masochists start clearing out.
Early dinner hours are less crowded, and you can still get the full breakfast menu in addition to the dinner menu, though breakfast at dinner time still tends to be more popular with Japanese visitors than locals.
This is the kind of place that's hard to rate by numbers because things like nostalgia and visuals, if you are so oriented, play a big part in shaping opinions. It would probably be surprising to most people to learn (gasp!) that there are better places for pancakes, though I can't deny the photogenic quality of Eggs 'n Things various whipped cream creations.
Choose from such fruit toppings as strawberries, blueberries, banana slices or pineapple ($12.75), sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with a tower of whipped cream and sprinkling of chopped mac nuts. Or get the Whip Pancake Sampler ($12.75) with the color punch of strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. This picture-perfect dish is ideal for the Tweeting/ Foodspotting/Facebook generation. You can get the same atop waffles ($12.75).
Never mind that the thick pancakes have a tendency to be stiff and dry. The ones I got had spent more time on the griddle than necessary so were particularly difficult to saw through, but the toppings are fine distractions, and the whipped cream and syrup (at the table are maple, coconut and a delicious light housemade pineapple version) go a long way toward rehabilitation.
Omelets here are neat, tidy, streamlined dishes, the three eggs elegantly folded over scant ingredients that range from spinach, bacon and cheese ($11.95) to a corned beef hash patty ($10.75). I have the feeling that these were designed to appeal to the Japan visitor, so they don't have the heft and filling overflow of omelets geared toward the local diner. But considering it comes with your choice of potatoes, rice or three pancakes, the portion is just right.
Judging by the steady stream of waffles and pancakes I saw, people tend to overlook the crepes, wrapped around fruit ($11.25) or sour cream with fruit toppings ($12.75). The fruit choices are the same as those available on pancakes and waffles, with the addition of a sour cream version topped with a housemade lemon sauce made with lemons, oranges and pineapple juice. The flavor of lemon zest comes through, with the occasional bitterness of a wayward piece of pith. I prefer the silky crepes to their drier counterparts.
After noon, heavyweight dishes are available. For those who can't stomach breakfast past morning, there is juicy chicken fried New York steak smothered in gravy ($16.55) with your choice of a Japanese-style, creamy potato salad or green salad, and choice of potatoes, pancakes or rice.
There's also ahi steak (market price) or tender calamari steak ($13.95), both with a choice of preparations: sauteed, seared with Cajun spices, or furikake, with the added kick of salsa on the side.
Kalbi ($12.95) isn't going to rival your favorite Korean restaurant, but it hits the spot if you're not in the mood for pancakes, and it comes with two eggs made to your liking. I got mine scrambled. Who doesn't like eggs? And things?
Nadine Kam’s restaurant reviews are conducted anonymously and paid for by the Star-Advertiser. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.