You Can Finally Go to Happy Hour at Mariposa in Neiman Marcus
Menu changes mean you can get a pau hana charcuterie board and a drink or have afternoon tea any day of the week.
The petite loco moco, and yes, it is a full-size egg on top.
PHoto: Christi Young
Let’s start by saying I go to Mariposa, first of all, for the popovers. So, when one of these light, crispy and airy wonders, still warm, slides on to my plate at the media preview of Mariposa’s new happy hour and afternoon tea offerings, I am already content.
Since it opened in Ala Moana Center in 1998, Mariposa’s easy elegance and ocean views have made it a favorite place to catch up with girlfriends—we celebrated my last day in news and my second baby shower there—or have Sunday afternoon tea with my mom and sisters. But the idea of escaping to here after an exhausting day at the office never crossed my mind. Pau hana was never part of the plan.
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That changed last month. Mariposa quietly replaced its afternoon menu with its first ever happy hour offerings. Four small plates and five drinks on special will be available from 3 to 6 p.m. daily. Never fear, popovers are available until they run out and you can still order your corn chowder and other favorites off of the regular menu, but for a few hours these options, which are reminiscent of full-size dishes, are all $10 and less.
At our tasting, we saw four different charcuterie boards with different kinds of cheese.
Photo: Christi Young
I could happily exist on charcuterie so the slices of cured meat, chunks of cheese—which ranged from brie to bleu cheese, one selection in each order—served with a small pile of spiced pecans, crisp lavosh, fresh berries, olives and tart liliko‘i Maui fruit “jewels” along a stone ground mustard on a mini board ($10) were my favorite. Give me a couple of those with different cheeses with a grassy sauvignon blanc and I’d be good. More substantial is the petite loco moco ($8).
It still had a substantial presence in the bowl with sizeable serving of grass-fed wagyu beef, a local sunny-side-up egg and rice covered in a rich Hāmākua mushroom gravy. Pair it with a $4 Primo for the full local experience. The star of the grilled salmon tacos was the pickled jalapeño, a bright hint of heat through the Kamuela tomato salsa ($10).
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Grilled salmon tacos with pickled jalapeños, ancho ranch and kamuela tomato salsa.
Photo: Catherine Toth Fox
The pork belly sliders were not as successful. The potato roll overwhelmed the braised Kurobuta pork belly ($10), which were more like thick slices of bacon than the meltingly soft shoyu-pork-style pieces I was expecting. Those hurricane fries though—they were covered in an even dusting of nori that ensured full furikake flavor with every bite, versus the traditional bigger nori flakes that fall off and force you to chase them around the plate.
Hurricane french fries are served with ketchup and aioli.
Photo: Christi Young
Drink specials are all $8, which includes a Svedka Vodka martini, a Herradura Reposada Tequila margarita on the rocks, a Neiman Marcus Sonoma County Chardonnay and other featured wines by the glass. Along with Primo, you can get a Coors Light for $4.
Mariposa is also making afternoon tea a daily option, instead of a Sunday-only special. Make reservations 24 hours in advance to have your full tower of smoked salmon and herb cream cheese crostini; egg-and-chive and asparagus sandwiches; scones; lemon Madeleines; chocolates; and French macarons. I would pay the $35 per person price for just the flavorful curried chicken salad sandwiches; earthy spinach, mushroom and Parmesan two-bite-sized quiches; and the cream-filled profiteroles.
Happy hour: Sunday through Thursday and Saturday, 3—6 p.m. and Friday, 3—5 p.m. Afternoon tea: Daily, 2-4 p.m. with 24-hour advance reservations. $35 per person before tax and gratuity. Ala Moana Center, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., (808) 951-3420, neimanmarcus.com