Marination Ma Kai Brings Aloha to West Seattle’s Seacrest Pier
The beginning is nigh, as the opening of Roz Edison and Kamala Saxton’s second brick-and-mortar outpost, the first in West Seattle, nears. Marination “ma kai” means “along, near, or by the sea,” rather appropriate for the Seacrest Boathouse spot (1660 Harbor Ave SW). At nearly four thousand square feet–including a spacious patio with tables and chairs looking onto Elliott Bay–the new location is considerably larger than Capitol Hill’s Marination Station.
The menu features all the Marination Mobile classics, like kimchi fried rice, Spam musubi, and the requisite tacos, quesadillas, and sliders, complete with Nunya sauce and pickled jalapenos. But there’s a lot more to Ma Kai’s menu: brand-new fish tacos, a pork katsu sandwich begging you to compare and contrast with Katsu Burger, panko-breaded fish and chips, and even a salad.
Also new is a daily breakfast, with to-go items, like muffins, granola and yogurt, shoyu eggs, and steamed pork buns, available by 7 a.m. If you aren’t running to catch the water taxi or grabbing a bite before a dive or kayak outing, there’s more substantial breakfast fare: breakfast sliders with housemade Portuguese sausage and eggs on Hawaiian buns, biscuits and gravy, a breakfast burrito, and what’s termed a “loco moco,” consisting of ground beef patty on rice with gravy and a fried egg. The menu may update from time-to-time, keeping in line with what’s available and sustainable (environmentally, as well as economically).
Save room for dessert! Ma kai is also serving traditional Hawaiian shave ice. (Even though the ice is shaved, there’s no “d” in the name, so don’t make that mistake!) The bowl of sno-cone-like ice is topped with homemade syrups with mostly fruit flavors–I tried the strawberry, passionfruit, and mango. Definitely add the azuki beans to cut some of sweetness, or double up on sweetness with a scoop vanilla ice cream–it’s your funeral. Thankfully, the Ma Kai menu comes with shave ice instructions!
As to the prospect of drinking ma kai, you can get your shave ice spiked with vodka, which sounds pretty much perfect. The drinks menu also includes a variety of wine and beer, including Big Al Brewing’s Marination Brown session ale, straight from White Center. Of course there are also some cocktail concoctions, like a lychee margarita, a jalapeno kamikaze, and a sure-to-be-rummy “Mai Kai.” You don’t have to wait very long in the day to start drinking; as the menu notes, “alcoholic bevvies are served at 11 a.m. Monday-Friday and at 9 a.m. on weekends.”
The latest word is that Ma Kai is hosting their friends & family dinner tonight, with hopes of a soft opening Thursday, and a grand opening thereafter. Of course, in the realm of restaurant openings, that schedule is subject to change.