Marination Mobile, one of the most popular food trucks in town, has opened a second brick-and-mortar on Alki Beach in West Seattle.
Marination Ma Kai — a Hawaiian term that means “toward or by the sea” — resides in the city-owned Seacrest Boathouse overlooking the charming Seattle skyline.
At Ma Kai, owners Roz Edison and Kamala Saxton have taken their Hawaiian/Korean-themed menu a step further by offering a wide slate of breakfast items, a pork katsu sandwich, fish and chips, and fish tacos.
It also features longtime mobile favorites like Spam musubi (slices of seared Spam with rice, wrapped in “nori” seaweed), tacos, sliders and quesadillas layered with Nunya sauce (a blend of mayonnaise, garlic, Korean hot pepper paste and spices), signature slaw and house-made pickled jalapeños.
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Unlike its first brick-and-mortar Marination Station on Capitol Hill, Ma Kai has a full bar menu with some exotic cocktails like “da kine” you’d find in Hawaii.
Another new treat for those hot summer days at the beach is a wide variety of Hawaiian shave ice. Each of the finely shaved ice bowls resembling powdery snow comes with homemade syrups like lychee, guava, mango, passion fruit and other fruity flavors. For $1 add azuki beans (a sweet Japanese bean) or $1.50 for a scoop of Husky Deli vanilla ice cream. Edison says there is also a grown-up version called “boozy shave ice.”
The menu: Classics are tacos ($2.50) on two four-inch corn tortillas with a choice of kalbi beef, miso ginger chicken, spicy pork or tofu. Each taco has slaw, pickled jalapeños and Nunya sauce. Kimchi (a Korean pickled vegetable) fried rice ($6) is dished up with a sunny-side-up egg, garnished with scallions and furikake (a dry condiment often sprinkled on rice containing seaweed, sesame seeds and salt). For additional texture add beef, chicken, pork or tofu.
Loco moco ($8.50) is a Hawaiian classic with a ground beef patty, white rice and two fried eggs topped with kalua pork gravy. A slider ($2.50) comes on a soft-style roll (think the classic King’s Hawaiian Bread) with kalua pork or Spam and layered with slaw and Nunya sauce.
What to write home about: The pork katsu sandwich ($8.50) has a panko-crusted pork cutlet bursting at the seams of a Macrina ciabatta, slaw and Bulldog sauce (resembles tonkatsu sauce with a slight kick).
The fish and chips ($9.59) are done with fresh cod or rockfish, and deep fried in a beer-battered, panko crust with a choice of miso or kimchi tartar. The fresh hand-cut French fries ($3.50) are twice fried to crispy perfection, and we enjoyed them with the house-made malt ponzu vinegar.
The setting: The dining area is spacious with tables and chairs, and there is more seating to get your “Aloha” on the outside patio.
Summing up: Four of us had two pork sliders, fish and chips, two kalbi tacos, two sodas ($1.50 apiece), French fries, pork katsu sandwich, kimchi quesadilla ($6) and two pork tacos for $46.50 with tax.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or firstname.lastname@example.org