Maui Report (long)
Wow....an amazing 9 days in Maui-
Mama's Fish House--Amazing. Drove straight there from the airport. Beautiful way to sart the trip, gorgeous setting, great service, amazing meal. I wish I had written down all that we consumed, but the standout for me was the poission cru. Expensive and worth every penny.
Another slam dunk was Honokowai Deli and Okazuya. Best plate luch we had. The mac salad was delicious and the shoyu chicken was incredibly tender with crispy bits of skin and an amazing not-too-sweet not-too-salty flavor. We also tried Aloha mixed plate (the katsu was good, nothing spectacular) and da Kitchen Express. Da Kitchen was a little disappointing. My katsu was sitting in a pool of oil and the pork laulau was very salty. The pork was redeemed the next morning, though, reheated and tossed with some mango.
Sansei (in Kapalua) was good. Maybe not worth all the raves but solid. Interesting sushi items. I wasn't ravenous, but the very light shiso and ume roll was yummy and I've never seen it before. We also had the crispy calamari salad and dynomite in addition to miso soup and some other sushi items.
We also ate at Spago, Capishe, Nick's Fishmarket & Roy's. Spago & Capische have stunning views of the ocean, but for food the standout was Spago. As with the Beverly Hills location, the (much smaller) kitchen puts out amazing food. We did the tasting menu, basically, the standouts were a spicy ceviche (w/opaka, maybe?) served in baby coconut shells with julienned cucumber and coconut. A a sunny side up quail egg on top a teriyaki grilled fish over some baby veges. The texture of the runny yolk coating the moist fish over the al dente veges was something else. There was also moi (sp?) with a very crispy skin that was in another stratosphere from what I had gotten at Nick's Fishmarket a few nights before. Desserts were also delicious: sauteed strawberries with buttermilk "sorbet", mojito granita and chocolate (with coconut sauce) and coconut (with chcocolate sauce) souffles. Needless to say, we were very full.
Capishe had good italian food-I stuck with two apps. A caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes (which weren't all that spectacular-a little too hard for my taste), Maui onions in very good fresh mozzarella and balsamic. The sauteed squid was also tasty spooned over the bread.
Roys was a good meal. I had the short ribs with lomi tomatos & poi. Haven't been to any of the other Roy's but I'm assuming they are all pretty similar?
The fish taco truck just north of Makena beach was also good. Don't forget to put some mango-habanero salsa on top if you like it hot, and finish the meal with a frozen snickers bar.
Finally, at the bottom of the barrell, Nick's Fishmarket. I can't fathom what all the hoopla was about. Our entire group agreed that the meal was poor and the service awkward. I started with the ceasar salad, wich was fine, but a little too heavy handed with the thick slices of parmesan on top. Can anyone explain why they change the glasses of drinking water mid meal? I got the moi whole and flash fried over veges and jasmine rice. It was okay for the first few bites, but then just tasted tired. The wait person that was sent to announce the desert menu told us what they were out of and then described it in detail (some kind of chocolate layer cake)....why mention it at all? Then he spilled scalding water on my brother's GF's legs. Accidents happen, but they didn't handle it all to well. Not at all worth the expense.
So as not to end on a negative note (it was one of my favorite vacations ever) - SHAVE ICE!!! The coffee shack that is in front of da Kitchen Express in Kehei shaved a mean ice. I had mine with a scoop of ice cream on the bottom flavored with li hing mui and guava. Had to go back the next day for another. Perfect after a long hike or whatever fits your fancy in paradise.
Glad you had such a good time & a few comments - SanSei is great for the specials, no one raves about their sushi, but the cooked items are usually fab; I like Nick's when you just go sit at the bar & split a few items. Too expensive for what it is to make a huge evening out of it, but the bar is great (especially when you have kids upstairs waiting for you to get back!)