Quite A Caper At Macaroni Grill

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - October 26, 2005
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Randy Schoch and his team are gearing up for the big opening of Romano’s Macaroni Grill in Ala Moana Center on Nov. 7.

Randy is no stranger to Honolulu, having lived here for decades before relocating to Scottsdale, Ariz., and he’s a regular back in the islands overseeing his Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses in Honolulu and on Maui, and now to make sure every detail is perfect for the Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

Darren Yasui will be the opening general manager for Romano’s, part of the Brinker International network, the largest full-service restaurant company in the world.

Oahu-born, Darren most recently worked at Waialae Country Club. After graduating from Kaiser High School in Hawaii Kai, he worked at Swiss Inn in Nui Valley and subsequently at the Kahala Hilton and Byron II Steakhouse in Ala Moana. In 1991, he became assistant manager of Andrew’s in Ward Centre. Darren also opened the Plumeria Beach Cafe at the Kahala Mandarin Oriental, and was opening general manager of Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch and Crab, so opening restaurants is a big part of his life.

When Darren’s not working, he and wife Dawn like to cook at home with their daughters, Chelsea and Tayna.

Here’s a recipe from Alex and Shawn Kirley - she’s the director of sales and marketing for Ruth’s Chris and Romano’s Macaroni Grill. She shared it with the Yasui,s and now MidWeek readers can sample it too!

The caper bush is native to the Mediterranean region, and the flower buds known as capers have been eaten since antiquity. The Romans used them to flavor sauces, and they are mentioned in the Old Testament. Capers are cultivated in North Africa and southern Europe.

Capers are sold pickled in vinegar, wine, or brine. The smaller capers, which are more expensive, have a more delicate flavor and aroma.

The unique flavor of capers adds an interesting touch to mayonnaise, salads and sauces such as remoulade. They are an essential ingredient in steak tartare. They can be used in sauces, mustard, sandwiches, pizza, rice dishes, pastas, meat, poultry, and especially fish and seafood.

Southern European cooks use the combination of capers, olives, and onion; tapenade is a combination of olive puree seasoned with capers and anchovies.

Capers are said to improve the appetite and digestion, and to be diuretic.

Pickled capers can be kept indefinitely, but once opened should be refrigerated.

(NOTE FROM ALEX: Shawn and I love making this with just about any fish, especially fresh mahi mahi when Shawn catches it.)

Breaded Mahi Mahi with Lemon, Butter, Capers and Garlic

* 2 filets fresh mahi (all fish work, eeven salmon)
* 1/4-1/2 stick butter (depending on how much fish you cook) Note: You may substitute olive oil and use less
* 2 tablespoons capers (or to taste)
* 1/2 lemon (for juice)
* 2 cloves garlic (the more garlic, the better)
* 1-2 cups Italian breading
* 2 eggs (may use 4 egg whites)
Chardonnay (to drink while cooking!!)


Mahi or any fish should be cut into small individual pieces

Pat fish dry


In a bowl, beat eggs and leave on side

Have a dish ready with breading

Dip fish in egg and then coat with breading

Prepare all fish this way


Get pan hot and melt butter or oil

Add garlic Add capers When hot, add slices of fish Cook just a few minutes on each side (don’t overcook fish)

When fish is done, squeeze lemon on fish

It’s great to serve with a Caesar salad and of course, pasta or garlic mashed potatoes.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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