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Dining On Maui [Very Long]

Maui – The Valley Island

We’ve been going to Maui for years. In about forty years, we’ve experienced it on 5-6 trips, approximately five years apart. The good-side of this is that we have been able to see much change over that time. The down-side is that much has changed...

We can recall when the town of Lahaina was a sleepy little village, and Kā`anapali was in the earlier stages of development. When some folk look at me, they are tempted to comment, “so, you remember Lahaina Town, when the whaling ships made port there?” Well, not quite, but close. We’ve always found ourselves based in and around Lahaina/Kā`anapali. In the earliest days, Kehei was about the only “town” across the Island, on the southwestern slope of Haleakalā. Most of Wailea was undeveloped, or just a construction site. We remember when the sugar mills were in full swing and the “sugarcane train” was actually hauling something besides tourists. Almost, as it was sitting in ruin after serving decades of sugarcane traffic. We’ve played tennis in “Maui snow,” when the sugarcane fields were burned after harvest in late September and October.

This time, we were again back in Kā`anapali, at the Westin property, their Spa & Resort. Unlike most previous trips, we were on a bit of a time constraint, as this trip was little more than a very long weekend. This trip required that we fit as much dining and golf into it, as was possible. We did our best.

What follows are dining reflections of Maui. Most of the reviews will be of higher-end restaurants. We had a full itinerary, and reservations, but still managed to miss some places. Some of these will be good reasons to come back sooner than our normal five year schedule.

I must add that some restaurants, that we really wanted to try were just out of the question. Since we were staying in West Maui, and both enjoy our wine, driving back around the Island, after a lovely dinner is just not something that we wanted to do for many reasons. Because of this aversion to drinking and driving, we were limited to lunch in a few places, and had to pass on others.

We were able to visit some “old friends,” found some new ones, and had to pass on one of our all time favorites, because of schedules – both our’s and their’s.

I am going to post the reviews/reflections as “replies” to this message. I’ve found that this format works well, when one is looking for a particular restaurant, as they do not have to read a very long post. There are some down-sides, but I hope that this works best for fellow Chowhounds.

Aloha,

Hunt

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  1. MĀLA Ocean Tavern, 1307 Front St, Lahaina, Maui, 808-667-9394, http://www.malaoceantavern.com/

    We were looking for someplace new to us, and the concierge at the Westin strongly recommended MĀLA Ocean Tavern. I had seen some reviews for their sister-restaurant, MĀLA, and knew that it was in Wailea – too far for us to drive and dine. “No, this is their other restaurant, and it’s great,” was her reply. Reservations were made, and I was very glad that they were, as the place was packed. It took about five minutes for us to be seated in the small secondary dining area, just around from the far end of the bar.

    MĀLA Ocean Tavern is, what appears to be a converted small storefront, overlooking the MĀLA Wharf, right behind the Lahaina Cannery complex. The interior is a blend of “Island casual,” with some “colonial” touches thrown in. There is a rather large L-shaped bar, an interior dining room, a smaller interior dining area, that appears to have been an enclosed porch, and then al fresco dining on the lanai. It’s actually larger, than it appears, when you peek in from outside, or first enter. Once inside, you’ll realize that there are no “jackets required.”

    The chef-owner, Mark Ellman, previously owned Avalon Restaurant in Lahaina Town, and this is now part of his two-restaurant endeavor. The menu is adventurous and fun. Same for the small, but very interesting wine list.

    We started with the Crunchy Calamari with Aioli & Mojo Verde, and the Big Island Ali`i Mushrooms in Garlic & Parsley a la Plancha. The portions of each were quite large. The initial flavors were excellent, with the calamari living up to its billing by being nice and crunchy, and the mushrooms being velvety smooth. I used the word “initially” earlier on. My observation was that both of these dishes should be ordered “family-style” for a party of 4, or more. We had them for a party of 2. They were both large, and became rather boring, as we continued to explore them. First taste was “wow!” By the fifth taste, the charm was gone. I kept trying to regain that first impression, but everything was exactly the same – same exact flavors, same exact textures. A little would have gone a long way. A lot was just too much, and ruined both dishes for us. If one had a larger group, I think that these dishes would have fared much better, as one would only have had those first few bites, which were very good. I probably should note here that one of my usual complaints with too many restaurants is the size of their portions. I like different flavors, textures and am not feeding an army. I appreciate smaller portions, that are extremely well-done, and will just get more of these. Whether it’s in a “small-dish” type serving, or a tapas setting, or a chef’s tasting, I just like smaller portions. Now, sharing one of these two amongst a bunch of friends and family is definitely the way to go.

    Primarily because of the mushrooms, but also because I love his wines, we went with a bottle of the Paul Hobbs ‘06 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. It was a lovely wine, though the garlic in the mushrooms kinda’ overpowered it. That garlic, that I loved on the first few bites, was wearing on me by now. The same for the Aioli & Mojo Verde with the calamari – great at first, but just too much of a good thing. I kept the Pinot Noir far away from that dish, and didn’t get back to it, until we finally pushed back from both starter courses.

    I had hoped for a really good selection of either half-bottles, or wines B-T-G. While the main list was very good, and fairly priced for a resort area in “paradise,” not so for smaller selections. I’ll get this out of the way early. Like our dishes, we both love to pair wines with each dish. When it’s just the two of us, half-bottles and B-T-G selections are the way that we usually go. Picking the one, quintessential full-bottle can be both daunting, and extremely limiting. I inquired whether we could have full-bottles sealed to take back to the resort, as is done elsewhere in Hawai`i and many other states. Unfortunately, that was not possible here. OK, so we stuck with one bottle and let it go at that. [More on the wine laws later.

    ]

    For our mains, we ordered the Local Mahi Mahi a la Plancha with Potato Purée, Mojo Verde & Grilled Pita with Romesco, and one of the specials, Seared Sashimi (exact prep not noted). These dishes were more appropriately sized and each was a knockout. My wife’s tuna was perfectly seared and barely warm in the middle. The Mahi was some of the best, that I have had. It was moist, had a perfect texture and with it, the Mojo Verde was now coming into its own, even though I had grown tired of it with the calamari.

    Besides the dining areas, there is a complete list of “bar food,” and it appeared that many patrons were availing themselves of this.

    In all, this was a fun, laid-back dining experience. One often expects the starter-courses to really shine, and out perform the mains. This was not the case with our meal. The mains saved the day.

    The fare was ~ US$200 for two including the wine, tax and gratuity. Were I consulting for MĀLA Ocean Tavern, I’d strongly suggest an appetizer medley, with maybe four items in much smaller portions.

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    Mala Ocean Tavern
    1307 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761

     
     
    2 Replies
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      I am traveling alone and ate 2 meals this week at Mala Ocean Tavern. At my second meal I was informed that one can order half size portions of the appetizers.

      1. re: christa160

        Christa160,

        That is great info. If it was printed anywhere, we missed it completely. That would definitely have been the way to go for us. We will remember that tidbit.

        Mahalo,

        Hunt

    2. Merriman’s Kapalua, One Bay Club Place, Lahaina, 808-669-6400, http://www.merrimanshawaii.com/

      Peter Merriman is one of the driving forces behind “Hawaiian Regional Cuisine,” along with other great chefs, like Bev Gannon, Mark Ellman (see MĀLA Ocean Tavern), Jean-Marie Josselin, George Mavrothalassitis, Alan Wong and Sam Choy. In 1991, twelve chefs put Hawaiian Regional Cuisine on the culinary map. We had never made it to Chef Merriman’s restaurant on the Big Island, and I was starting to catch some heat from a few of these chefs. “You HAVE to dine at Peter Merriman’s,” they instructed me. Well, I got my chance on Maui.

      The Kapalua restaurant is new, since we were last on Maui. It’s tucked away, along the shore road (Lower Honoapiilani Road) between Kapalua and Napili, overlooking Oneloa & Namalu Bays. The room is elegant, with tables spread nicely about the room, which has a small bar area, just past the hostess station. The lighting is subdued, but more than adequate, and the accommodations are very comfortable. I do not know of any dress code, but a jacket for gentlemen would not be out of place here. Chef Phillip Wang oversees this location, and impressed us with his skills and those of his staff, from FOH to the depths of the kitchen. I do not know how much latitude he has with Chef Merriman’s dishes, but I’d give his interpretations a 100%, based on what we sampled. How they might compare to similar dishes at the Merriman’s on the Big Island, I cannot comment, but do plan on dining there, on our next trip.

      The menu is extensive, as is the wine list. I’d give myself at least 30 minutes just to digest (no pun intended) both. As the service is both attentive, yet relaxed in a very positive “Island” way, this should be no problem.

      After a few minutes with the wine list, we started with the Marc Colin et Fils ‘06 1er Cru Les Caillerets Chassagne-Montrachet. The server was happy to “carafe” this white Burg for me, though she was curious, as she’d never been asked to “decant” a white wine before. After a quick explanation, she promptly had our wine in a decanter, and had also brought the requested Riedel Vinum Burgundy “balloons” to replace their regular white wine glasses – Riedel Vinum Chardonnay stems, if I noticed correctly. No problems, no questions. Just great service, for which a glass of the Chardonnay was offered.

      Decisions, decisions. Finally, we were ready to order. Our starters were the Hirabara Farm Spinach & Applewood Smoked Bacon Salad with shaved Maui onions, Surfing Goat Chevre and a balsamic vinaigrette, and the Eden Farms Kurobuta Kalua Pig & Sweet Onion Quesadilla with house-made Kim Chee and mango-chili sauce. About this time, we added a glass of the Archery Summit Red Hills Estate Pinot Noir and the Edmeades Mendocino Zinfandel. Each starter was over-the-top great. I could have made a meal with just one more of the Quesadillas. The Pinot Noir worked perfectly with Smoked Bacon and also with the smoky Kalua Pork. The acid in the Chardonnay played nicely with the Surfing Goat Chevre. Just wonderful, and this was but the beginning.

      The mains were the Merriman’s Original Wok Charred Ahi with Napa cabbage slaw, macadamia nut brown rice and wasabi-soy, and the Grass Fed Maui Cattle Beef Filet (small) with sautéed Ali`i mushrooms, roasted marrow, sweet potato purée and Maui onion jam. The Ahi was wonderful, with a crisp sear on the outside, but lovely rare flesh inside. It was a perfect yin-yang of textures. The macadamia nut brown rice was exquisite. So long as too much of the wasabi-soy was used, the Pinot Noir was perfect. The smaller-cut of the filet was almost more than adequate and was wonderfully tender, flavorful and cooked to perfection. Again, that crisp crust, with perfect almost-rare meat inside. This was a great job of searing. The Zin was flawless with the beef and played off of the Maui onion jam nicely.

      I was glad that I had gotten the smaller cut of the filet, as I had room to finally share a dessert with my wife. She opted for the Dark Cookie Bottom Caramel Cheesecake with Kona sea salt, dulce de leche and vanilla bean créme. I loved the sea salt as a counter-point. Really creative touch. We also split a light pour of the Edmeades Alden Ranch ‘04 Late Harvest Mendicino Ridge Zinfandel. Now, I have several bottles left of the “regular harvest” Alden Ranch Zin. The “liner notes” say something like “this is the ‘mother’ of all Zins... “ I had never tasted the Late Harvest, and did not know what to expect. Could this be the “mother” of the “mother of all Zins?” It was a totally different wine, than the “regular.” It was nowhere near as “big,” and was so very smooth. I’d guess (did not see the bottle), that it was only about 13% alcohol, rather than the 15.3% of the regular. My wife also had a cup of the Red Catuai Maui Coffee.

      The bill came to US$477 for the meal, wines, taxes and a generous gratuity. This was my wife’s favorite meal of the trip, and I ranked it right up near the very top. This is a lovely restaurant, tucked away from the “beaten path.” It’s well worth the drive from Lahaina and its environs, though is a little tough finding. There is signage, but it’s located just as the road turns toward the Kapalua Ritz Carlton. If you’re headed north, look to the ocean-side, just before the big curve before the Ritz. Because of the elegance and the romantic setting, I’d definitely recommend it for any “special occasion” dining. Get there well before sunset, to take in the bay. Because of the orientation of the restaurant, you will likely not see sunset, per se, most of the year, but the view is very nice any way. I think that Chef Merriman has a real winner here, and I cannot wait to dine at his Big Island restaurant.

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      Merriman's Kapalua
      , Lahaina, HI 96761

       
       
       
      3 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        bill, thanks for all the suggestions, totally used this post as a guide for our 1 year anniversary. loved merriman's. great setting and service, not to mention the food!

        have some pics as well for those that are interested: http://www.flickr.com/photos/renandro...

      2. The Banyan Tree at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua Resort, One Ritz-Carlton Drive, Kapalua, 808-669-6200, http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Propert...

        We had not been back to the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua in some years. Back then their signature restaurant was the Anui`nui Room, which is long gone. It had been a major disappointment with very haughty service, mediocre food and a horribly expensive wine list, even by Hawaiian resort standards. Couple this with very poor wine-service, and there was no reason to go back. That was then, and this is now.

        I’d been reading reports on the Banyan Tree, and they sounded good. Should I put previous experiences behind me and try them? I’m glad that I did.

        The Banyan Tree is located in a separate building, beyond the pool area of the main hotel complex. Parking is closer, if one drives to the T in the road, turns right past the chapel and parks there. It’s a very short, lighted walk to the Banyan Tree. It is a lovely plantation-styled space, that is open on many sides, and offers views on the others. There is an upscale casual bar in the middle, and I think that the dining rooms are on either side. I say “think,” because we were in one, and it was separated by the central bar and entrance, and I did not walk to the other, but would assume that it was similar to where we were seated. I’d typify the space as casual-chic meets plantation. It is not a jacket-required sort of restaurant, but one would not be comfortable arriving in wet jams and a tank top. Also, depending on the season, the weather and one’s comfort with cool ocean breezes, coupled with the open aspect, a diner might be more comfortable with a light wrap, or a sweater. My blazer was perfect, and my wife’s shawl fit the bill. Though I had on my jacket, I did not feel out of place in the casual elegance. The kitchen is run by Chef de Cuisine Ryan Urig. I remember him from the Arizona Biltmore (now Hilton). Then, he was doing more variations on Southwest fare, but has stepped up to the plate with his slightly Euro-Hawaiian menu.

        After I made mention of the “haughty service” in the predecessor restaurant, I have to comment on the Banyan Tree. Our main server was Robert (“Rho-Bear”) Mora. Mr. Mora has been at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua for many years now, and is the perfect blend of friendly, efficient and knowledgeable. One of the best, that I have encountered in many years. His manner is so very easy, yet you know that he’s there to make your entire experience one that you will not likely forget. I do not know if he is also the official sommelier, but should be. He conducts his team in a most professional manner. No one is ever there, when you do not want them to be, but always seem to materialize out of the tropical foliage, should you need anything. Perfect!

        We started the evening, after some greetings and a little history from Mr. Mora, with a bottle of the Domaine Louis Jadot ‘05 Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot. Without prompting, Robert suggested that he decant (carafe) this wine, as it was quite young. Nice idea. I’d had the same, just the night before. Still, this was something that I greatly appreciated. Robert knows his white Burgs! He also returned with a pair of Schott-Zwiesel Burgundy balloons. Again, he anticipated my upcoming request. For however lacking the wine service at the Anui`nui Room had been, the Banyan Tree was scoring big points, all around. BTW, the temp of the Chardonnay was perfect. Robert asked if we’d like an ice bucket, but indicated that he did not think we would. We didn’t. I end up requesting one in restaurants for more reds, that are too warm, than for my whites. Again, Robert was on top of the situation.

        While we poured over the menus, which are presented in hand-made “books,” we were presented with bread, olive oil and Dukkah to dip into. This is a toasted spice/seed blend, that is out of this world. It was unique in flavors and also added an interesting texture to the oil-dipped bread.

        The menu is not as extensive as Merriman’s, but did take a moment, or two to navigate, even with Robert’s expert assistance. There were some specials, and he also wanted to give good descriptions of some signature dishes. We also had some questions, which were expertly answered. Our starters were the “Create You Own Appetizer Trio” consisting of the Seared Scallops with cauliflower and roasted tomato, the Ahi Tunas Sashimi and the House Smoked Salmon Ravioli with tobiko créme. My wife tempted fate, with a few bites of the scallops, but did not suffer any problem. Maybe it was the power of the Chassagne-Montrachet that warded of evil – or maybe it was Robert’s medicinal powers? Everything glowed. I added a glass of the William Foley ‘06 Dijon Clone 667 Pinot Noir, and it was lovely with the salmon and the tuna. My wife and I shared this, along with the Chardonnay, which went very well with the scallops.

        I added a soup-course with the Maui Onion and Fennel Soup with peas and tomatoes. Robert quickly pointed out that this was NOT a French Onion Soup, but was totally different. He went into great detail, so that I would not be disappointed. Now, I do have to say that I am a big fan of French Onion Soup. However, some many years ago, I had the ultimate Onion Soup at the old Miele Room at the Kahala Hilton. It actually reminded me more of a Kahuku Corn Soup (substitute corn with onion), than any other Onion Soup, that I had ever had. The only similar was at the long gone Miele Room at what was then the Kahala Hilto. There was a sweetness to that base too, but the Maui Onion came through wonderfully. It was a smooth créme that was a very light greyish-brown color. I cannot recall the exact garnish, that was sprinkled on the surface, but the combo was absolutely the best Onion Soup that I have ever encountered. I held out hopes for this dish. It was good, but did not live up to my dreams. As I was now sharing more of my wife’s Pinot Noir, than she was comfortable with, I was about to order another glass. Before I could, Robert had the bottle and was giving her another pour, with a smile for her, and a growl for me. Nice touch, as only one glass appeared on the check.

        For our mains, we chose the Beef Tenderloin with asparagus, mushrooms and truffle sauce, and the Pine Nut Crusted Ahi with cucumber noodles and Thai basil pesto. Though she’d already had the Ahi on the appetizer trio, my wife did not hesitate, especially with the pine nuts. Her “fresh” glass of Pinot Noir went very well. I added a glass of the Girard Napa Zin (did not note vintage, but would guess that it was about an ‘05) for the beef. Well, it was good, but not up to the filet that I had the night before at Merriman’s. Everything was perfectly prepared, and featured a lovely presentation.

        My wife added a cup of decaf Kona, and we were almost done. Robert appeared with a couple of small pours of Taylor-Fladgate ‘93 VP, “because there was an open bottle, that he wanted to get rid of... “ Those too, never made it to the bill.

        In the end, the total with wines, taxes, and generous gratuities, came to US$375. Even though the onion soup and the tenderloin were not “best-evers,” the meal was very, very good, and coupled with the impeccable service and the lovely atmosphere, the overall experience was great. We’ll definitely return and I will definitely request Robert as our captain.

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        Banyan Tree
        1 Ritz Carlton Dr, Lahaina, HI

         
         
        1. Chez Paul Restaurant Francais, 820 Olowalu Village Road, Lahaina, 808-661-3843, http://www.chezpaul.net/

          We dined at Chez Paul’s on two previous trips, and had been pretty impressed. Recent reviews and replies on CH were painting a different picture of this old stand-by though. Still, we had to dine there again. The restaurant is located in a free-standing building about 5 miles south of Lahaina Town, right in a blind curve. Though the speed limit is lowered around it, few seem to pay any attention to this, and are all doing about 60 MPH through this area. The curve means that it’s very hard to see traffic heading north. We remembered this all too well, so made sure to plan our trip there with care. If one exits to the north, from the restaurant parking lot through the parking area of a fruit stand, and points their auto toward the highway, they have a chance of actually getting onto the highway, and getting up to speed, if someone watches behind them. Of course, some of this does depend on the acceleration of their rental car. Be careful, very careful!

          Chef Patrick Callarec has been doing fairly classic French cuisine in this location for some time. In the past, we were impressed, hence our return. The decor is eclectic, to say the least. It’s a bit of French farmhouse, but with a roadside diner feel added in. What might have passed for elegance in the distant past, but now just seems tired. The dining room is a bit cramped, with the smallish tables too close together for my tastes. It is also on the loud side, but that might depend on the night and the crowd.

          We started with a bottle of Jean Michel Gaunoux ‘04 Folatieres Puligny-Montrachet, and I asked for a change in stemware. There really wasn’t any, so we opted for some glasses from behind the bar. These were poor substitutes for what we had been offered on the two previous nights – by a great deal, I must add. In general, the wine list is very limited and is probably the most expensive of all that we encountered, based on the wine for the price. The stemware was as “tired” as the decor seems to have become. I do not recall the lack of adequate stemware on previous trips.

          For starters we went with Le Petit Plat du Jour, which was Seared Foie Gras, La Soupe a L’Onion which was a traditional French Onion Soup and Salade de Crevettes et D’ Avocats du Pays (shrimps, avocados and tomatoes with Upcountry greens and black truffle vinaigrette. I asked for a Sauternes, or similar to go with the foie gras, but there was none, other than by the bottle. Now, I am a big fan of foie gras, and this one was OK, but it was also one of the more expensive dishes of goose liver, that I have ever had. Even if I figure the exchange rate between the ₤ and the $, I do not think that I have paid this much in London. The onion soup, while traditional, was very light, and almost flavorless. The onion was cut into extremely long strands, that made eating it gracefully a difficult proposition. The same can be said for the cheese, toasted atop it – rather bland. The shrimp salad was in the same boat, with the soup. There was just nothing to recommend either.

          As per her theme on this trip, my wife went with ahi. She chose Poisson des Isles et Crevettes Niçoise (Seared ahi with prawns in tomato, garlic, basil and saffron). I went the Filet de Boeuf Persillade de Champignons Sauvages (Sautéed filet of beef with exotic mushrooms, garlic and parsley in a Port wine reduction. Other than the specific preparations, these were pretty much what we’d ordered on two other nights during this trip. By a long shot, these were the weakest versions of these dishes. My filet was almost tough and chewy, and my wife’s ahi was probably overdone by a few minutes. These were also the most expensive versions. We had added an Acacia Carneros Pinot Noir from the limited B-T-G selection. Here too, the price was slightly out of line. Normally with B-T-G selections, it’s priced per the full-bottle wholesale price. This one was US$24 and I pay US$22.95 for the bottle at retail. OK, we WERE in “paradise.” I had to struggle to find anything for the beef from the B-T-G list, but went with a glass of some Cabernet Sauvignon, but did not note which one. Seems that it was Beaulieu Vineyard Coastal, but cannot find my notes on it.

          In general, this was the weakest meal of the entire trip. We were both disappointed, since we’d previously had good meals there. I’ve used the word “tired” a few times earlier on, and that is still the best descriptor, that I can come up with. Maybe this was just one of those off nights, but I doubt that we’ll return. I do have to say that though it was raining quite hard, the restaurant was always nearly full, as was the bar area. Maybe we just ordered wrong, or that we’d so recently had much better versions of most of our choices. Still, we were both disappointed. The bill for the food, the wine, tax and gratuities was US$435.42.

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          Chez Paul French Restaurant
          820 Olowalu Village Rd, B Lahaina, HI

           
          1. Gerard’s Restaurant, 174 Lahainaluna Rd, Lahaina, 808-661-8939, http://www.gerardsmaui.com/cms/index.php

            This was our second experience at Gerard’s. It’s located two long blocks off of Front St. right in the heart of Lahaina Town. The restaurant occupies one of the older buildings in town, that appears to have been the home of one of the wealthier residents years ago. I thought that we’d gotten the lowdown on most of the buildings in Lahaina Town, during a historic walking tour, some years back, but I cannot remember the history of this structure. There is a large interior dining room, plus al fresco dining on a lovely porch, overlooking Lahainaluna Street. A plus for Gerard’s is the smallish parking lot, adjacent to the building. In downtown Lahaina, this is unique.

            We were seated on the porch, per our request and began with a bottle of the ‘04 Louis Latour Meursault. For our first courses, we elected to go with the Medallion of Duck Foie Gras Seared in Spice Crust with French toast brioche and Pohá berry compote, and Fresh Ahi Tartare with Taro Chips. I added a B-T-G ‘01 D’Arche-Pugneau Sauternes. Nice touch. The stemware was not Riedel, or Schott-Zwiesel, but was very nice – so far above Chez Pauls’ glasses. I also need to add that the wine list was a bit more extensive, and the prices were slightly better, for the particular wines.

            Now, this was what I was looking for with foie gras! It didn’t make my top ten list, but it was very, very good. Wife thought so too. Her tuna was great. This was sashimi-grade ahi and was like velvet. Matter of fact, the texture of both my foie gras and her ahi was similar. The preparations of each was very good, as each had a textural counterpoint: the brioche and the taro chips.

            We passed on the soups and salads and went right to the mains: Fresh Island Fish (opakapaka) Souflé in Lobster Mousse with Americaine sauce and créme fraiche, and Grilled Filet of Beef with whole grain mustard sauce, warm Maui onion jam and salsify chips. The opakapaka was light, moist and tender and every aspect of the dish was great. I was back on a roll with the filet, as this one was right up there with the previous best of the trip. We added a B-T-G Pinot Noir and a Petite Chateau Bordeaux. Notes not available.

            During our dining, we met Chef James McDonald (Feast of Lele & Io) and his lovely wife, who were celebrating a birthday at Gerard’s. We shared the Meursault with them, and they shared their Pinot Noir with us.

            I’d typify Gerrard’s as more formal, than most other dining areas on Maui, with the exception of Merriman’s. While jackets are not required for gentlemen, they would never be out of place, especially as most of the waitstaff is in a tux, or at least a tux shirt. The check, with wines, tax and gratuity came to US$400.62.

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            Gerard's Restaurant
            174 Lahainaluna Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761