I haven't had a chance to complete my trip review, so here is part one. Thanks for everyone who helped me plan my meals for this trip, overall, everything was GREAT!
To be honest, I was a little nervous about dining in Maui, I know there are great places to eat but I also know that its not on the same chow level as New Orleans (a favorite place to dine), NYC or Boston (I mean no offense to anyone, as youll see I had great dining experiences while there). Ive lived in Boston and dined extensively there, San Francisco, and now I live in San Diego so I like to think I know my seafood. Luckily, we had many great meals, but Id like to start out by noting the places we didnt go, that Id like to try next time were in West Maui. We missed Aloha Mixed Plate, Vinos, Plantation House, Sansei & PacificOs. I cant wait to go back! By the end of the trip, we stayed in for two nights of dinners because we couldnt eat anymore so I missed out on reservations at Vino and PacificOs. We just couldnt eat anymore!
Now on to the chow
Kimos for lunch
Mixed Plate The ribs were most and covered in a delicious bbq plum sauce that we couldnt get enough of. The teriyaki chicken skewers were juicy and covered in just the right amount of teriyaki sauce, the macaroni salad was great, as macaroni salads go and the rice was your typical sticky white rice. Chicken Sandwich w/Maui Chips Moist chicken breast covered in pineapple salsa. The pineapple salsa was a treat, but the sandwich could have used a little more of it. Hula Pie Wow, loved this dessert. An oreo crust with macadamia nut ice cream covered in a layer of fudge and topped off with whipped cream. We almost finished it!
Excellent mai-tais and great ambience.
Old Lahaina Luau for dinner
Terrible! I realize you dont go to luaus for the food, but I was surprised with how mediocre, and at times downright terrible everything was. Before anyone thinks its because Im not used to Hawaiin food, I can assure you that I have had other Hawaiian dishes cooked by friends who are native, and while in Maui, and the food at Old Lahaina Luau was in fact either overcooked, undercooked, or of poor quality. The kahlua pork and the banana bread were the only two things I enjoyed at dinner. The mahi mahi was so fishy and rubbery I lost my appetite after one bite. Everything else was so unremarkable that I cant remember it to review it. The drinks were not only watery, they tasted like cheap powdered mixes. On the upside, the entertainment was great, and the tiny macadamia nut tarts served at dessert were pretty good. Took Maui Jons advice and cancelled Feast at LeLe so as not to spend two dining nights at luaus, so well try the Feast next time we return.
Hula Grill for lunch
We started with the crab macadamia nut wontons that were recommended. They werent half as good as wed hoped, and slightly bland. I had a fish sandwich with jalapeno aioli and my fiancé had the pork sandwich. Both were okay, the pork was better than the fish although the jalapeno aioli gave it a much needed kick. The drinks were so-so, the service was great and the views were fabulous.
Longhis for a drink
I think we met the worlds rudest bartender here. We had such pleasant experiences with many on Maui that this guy almost ruined our night out. He wouldnt look at our faces when speaking to us and took forever to make our drinks because he was too busy chatting up the one other couple at the bar. He even threw our napkins at us for our drinks. We were flabbergasted. We felt better about things when looking at the unappetizing entrees coming out of the kitchen.
David Pauls for dinner
Ive read conflicting reviews on this place but we had an excellent experience. We arrived a half an hour early and were seated immediately. I forgot that the Reconstructed Roll was a must try and started with the WARM PECAN CRUSTED GOAT CHEESE AND BABY ARUGULA SALAD with Pears, roasted beets, Poha berry honey-mustard dressing. Any salad with warm goat cheese and beets is a salad I must try and it did not disappoint! I dont remember exactly what my fiancé had for an entrée, I was too busy chowing down on mine. My entrée of choice was SAUTÉED MAHI-MAHI with Kula spinach, herb infused mashed potatoes, Gorgonzola, pancetta and Chardonnay beurre blanc. This was heavenly. The mahi mahi was the PERFECT texture and each entrée complimented the dish perfectly. I have to say that the portion sizes were rather large so I only ate about half. This may have been the best fish dish I have ever eaten. For dessert, as the trip was a celebration of fiances 30th, we ordered the sampler and they wrote Happy 30th Birthday in beautiful chocolate scrolling on the plate. The Triple Berry Pie was a standout and Ive discovered the recipe is online and plan on making it come berry season. The Sunken Chocolate Cake and Crème Brulee were fabulous as well. Okay, everything on the plate was great and we decimated it. We didnt feel rushed as others have mentioned, I believe we were there for a under two hours. Our meal was perfect in every way and we cant wait to return.
On the way to Hana
We stopped in Paai for some snacks on the way to Hana. If you go there you MUST try Mana, a whole food market. Lots of great organic and natural foods. I had a breakfast burrito filled with eggs, cheese and rosemary potatoes. Delicious. We shared a giant hunk of homemade organic carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and I swear it was the best carrot cake I have ever had in my life. Moist with freshly grated carrots, large nuts and overall a great piece of cake.
Halfway to Hana ~ we had to stop here for some banana bread and it did not disappoint. Fresh out of the oven with chunks of banana and at least a stick or two of butter, just what the waistline needed after three days of mai tais and pina coladas. Somehow, the edges of the bread were just a little bit crisp (not burnt or hard) and with the warm soft center, it made the texture just perfect. Im still dreaming of that banana bread.
Snack stand on the harbor in Hana. An unremarkable mixed plate, nothing to comment on.
Mamas Fish House ~ I know there are dissenting views of this establishment, but our experience was incredible. Just walking down the tiki lit path watching the waves come up on the shore was enough to set the tone for a lovely night. Ill start with the fact that our server was great. He made us feel at ease and even gave us a tasting of one of their specialty soups, coffee and a dessert on the house. The food was fabulous. I started with a trio of sushi/sashimi, I apologize that I dont remember the names of the fish, Im not so good at that. The first was in a pineapple tamarind sauce, I have an aversion to tamarind so they made it without and it was delicious and very fresh. The second was a roll with panko covered seaweed. Also very tasty. And finally, a type of white fish with freshly shredded parmesan. It was some of the best sushi I have ever had, and I live in San Diego which has some excellent sushi. My fiancé had the crab cake which was basically a cake of fresh crabmeat and a few fresh vegetables that somehow held together. He proclaimed it to be the best crab cake ever. I had the mahi mahi for my entrée which was on par with the prior night at David Pauls and my fiancé had a type of mixed plate with two different types of fish, kahlua pork, yam and something else I cant remember because I was too busy enjoying my mahi mahi. Dessert was French pressed kona coffee and their signature pie of a type of mouse on a thick layer of caramel with a thick Oreo cookie crust. Beautiful ambiance and extremely fresh, well prepared fish. Yes its expensive, but it was less than David Pauls and it is Maui. My one complaint would be the surly bartender. What is it with bartenders on Maui?