Dinners in Hana – Part I

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | October 16th, 2008 | Restaurant Reviews

Reading our Maui tour guide, I began to realize how remote of a location Hana was.  Reviewing the dining in Hana, our guide listed three restaurants.  And, to add to the lack of choices, they strongly advised skipping one of the restaurants.  Having experienced mediocre dining in Lahaina, I was wondering if we would be pretty hungry during our stay in Hana.

Fortunately, we had the best food of the trip in Hana.  Staying at the Hotel Hana-Maui, we experienced three nights of wonderful dinners and three mornings of delicious breakfasts.

On our first night at the hotel, we saw a Chef’s Tasting scheduled at Ka’uiki (the hotel restaurant) for that evening.  Reservations were made, and we ventured to the restaurant for this limited seat event.  We started our meal with a glass of Piper Sonoma Brut.  After savoring a few sips, our first course appeared.  Served family style, there were dishes of Local Style Ahi Sashimi with Fresh Grated Volcano Wasabi, Kona Lobster Ceviche with Avocado, Mango and Taro Crisps, Big Eye Ahi Poke with Hawaiian Chile and Maui Onion, and Freshly Pounded Keanae Poi.  Both my husband and I found the poke to be our favorite appetizer.  This meal was complimented with Terlano Pinot Bianco.

After sampling all of those delicious hors d’oeurves and having a few moments to converse with our dinner companions, more dishes were brought to the table.  For this round, there were Whole Wok Fried Kona Kampachi, Kahanu Gardens Ulu and Black Tiger Prawn Cakes, and Locally Grown Waialua Asparagus Tempura with Ponzu Sauce.  The prawn cakes were amazing, and if it weren’t for the fact that there were more courses to come, I could have eaten several of these.  My husband favored the asparagus tempura. These dishes were served with Chateau de Jau Cotes du Roussillon Villages.

The chef paced this meal very well.  Although, I was choosing smaller portions, I didn’t feel rushed or overly full.  Next to grace our table were Maui Cattle Company Lau Lau, Wehani Red Hawaiian Rice dusted with Furikake Spices, and Steam Molokai Sweet Potato with Coconut Cream.  I almost skipped sampling the rice, as I didn’t want to fill my stomach too soon, but luckily I took a serving.  It was the best part of this course for me.  For my husband, the sweet potatoes excelled.  Neyers “Novillero Vineyard” Chardonnay was paired with this part of the meal.

Finally, dessert was served.  We were offered a Local Tropical Fruit Display, Haupia, and Pineapple Upside-down Cake.  Although by this point I was quite satiated, I tried a few bites of each.  For this last portion of the meal, my husband and I again chose the same dish to be our favorite, the pineapple cake.

Our first night in Hana revived our faith in finding good Hawaiian dining.  We were hopeful that the excellent food would be abundant during the next two nights of our stay in Hana.

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