Thank you Kelly for your Kapalua recommendations. Here are my thoughts on the restaurants we hit while in Maui...
On about four days notice Chris, one of the owners, and I put together a stellar dinner for 40 in the relatively new Pineapple Grill in Kapalua. (thanx for the rec, Kelly!) It's near the Bay Course and Sensei (which I didn't get a chance to try). Everything was fabulous -- the food, the service, even the price. We received family style appetizers (delicious rare blackened ahi, tender duck breast slices, and veggy egg rolls), a salad with hearts of palm, tomatoe, and mac nut crusted mozzarella, a choice of three mains (steak; prawns with a mac nut and crab coating, and ginger miso salmon), and for dessert a "chocolate bomb." I'm not a dessert guy so the dessert was my least favorite part, but everything else was tremendous. I was impressed how perfect every dish came out and how there was very little waiting between courses without feeling rushed. The per-person adult price was under $100, including free-flowing wine, tax, and a generous tip. The fixed price for the food alone was $55.
We came here for an early dinner with the kids and felt fortunate we did so. The sun sets between 5:30-6pm this time of year and sitting in this Italian tapas-style restaurant/wine bar truly felt like I was in Italy. The doors open up on two sides of the restaurant revealing rolling, pine-tree lined hills and allowing the refreshing Maui breezes in. The tapas-style Italian was a first for me, and dishes that stood out were the open-faced beef cheek ravioli, the tomato and flash-fried mozzeralla, and my favorite was the asian-inspired calimari. A little disappointing was the papardelle bolognese, but with tapas, it wasn't a huge commitment. You can always order more of what's good. And a nice by-the-glass wine assortment.
We left the kids behind and came here for a dinner for 4 at 8pm. I had been warned about the lackluster service here but heard the food was good and with low expectations of the service, how bad could it be? Well, it wasn't awful, but it wasn't great, either. We definitely felt rushed (is 8pm late in Hawaii?) and other careless mistakes were made. The food was good, but not memorable. If I go again, I think I would go earlier to enjoy the view.
RITZ-CARLTON SUSHI BAR.
I just had a quick sampling at the sushi bar just off the main lobby bar. The yellow tail sashimi was among the best I'd ever had. Reviews from friends who ate there were very high.
Longhi's in Lahaina has become a family tradition. Though I would say it's very much in danger. We were seated downstairs with a completely different feel and a completely different menu. Upstairs is all specials, I believe, and downstairs is fairly pedestrian Italian fare. I would only go back if we were guaranteed seating upstairs and if they indeed still off the non-menued specials there.
ALOHA MIXED PLATE.
This beach-side casual outdoor restaurant just outside Lahaina was fun and offered a little local flavor. The mixed plates are different influences on island cuisine based on different nationalities living there (Japanese, Polynesian, Chinese, Korean). I found the mahi mahi excellent, the teriaki chicken good, and the steak average. My wife's chicken was bit tough. Most plates come with two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad. Odd, but surprisingly good.