Eating is believing: MW Restaurant’s $11 lunches to go

Gourmet bentos and lunch specials at a fraction of the dine-in price
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Eating is believing is a series spotlighting great deals on incredible food.
 
What: Takeout lunches from MW's On-the-Go menu 
Where: MW Restaurant, 1538 Kapiolani Blvd.
When: Monday-Friday 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Price: $11
Compare: The same lunch entrees cost $16-25 dine-in; also, a Zip Pac at Zippy's is $10.50
Fullness factor: 9 out of 10 

The deets

James Beard award-nominated MW Restaurant is the place to be for a business-casual lunch or fancy dinner. But the restaurant’s lunch On-the-Go menu is probably the best townie deal you’ll find — you get the same gourmet preparation at a fraction of the dine-in entrée price.

The restaurant posts the takeout choices on its Instagram sometimes; if not, you can call 955-6505 to ask. You phone in your order and give a pickup time. Easy as one, two, three.

Actually, I take that back. It's difficult to decide which lunch to order. 

The MW bento comes with twice-cooked tonkatsu, kalbi shortrib, Kukui Portuguese sausage and housemade Spam, plus your choice of white or brown rice.

The tonkatsu’s breading is thick, but the meat is tender. It comes in a small pool of tonkatsu sauce for a contrasting tang. The kalbi shortribs are bite-size and flavorful, but my favorites here are the smoky Portuguese sausage (this would be perfect in a breakfast bento) and Spam. This is Spam gone gourmet, complete with crispy exterior and perfect saltiness.

At $11 it’s a steal, especially when you consider that Zip Pacs currently cost $10.50. Sorry, Zippy’s — I’ve found a new airplane meal. 
 
Mochi-crusted monchong with yuzu koshu soy vinaigrette, somen noodles and Ho Farm vegetable sides.

The monchong is light, flaky and fresh inside its crunchy fried mochi crust, and the somen noodles underneath work well as a smooth, refreshing side. I still can’t believe what a bargain this is (compare the dine-in lunch entrée price of $24). And the portion’s not skimpy. 

Hamburger steak goes gourmet with a Brandt beef burger, braised green cabbage and gravy allllll over with your choice of white or brown rice.

This hamburger steak is oily and decadent, and I mean that in a good way. The patty is ultra savory and juicy, and the thick gravy takes the flavor to the next level.

The only thing that would make this better is adding a yolky egg on top to make it a loco moco. Which reminds me: If you can’t make it to MW during lunch, don’t worry. Lunch On-the-Go is available until 4 p.m., so just make sure place your order before then, and voila! Dinner’s served. 

Parking

On-site parking available — and you don't have to valet. Just let the valet know you're picking up your takeout order. Street parking on Makaloa Street and Kapiolani Boulevard is also available.