Dining scene ‘Breaking Good’ with new pop-up, chef’s table, canoe culture, Wailuku eatery, Pa’ia coffee, more.
By Carla Tracy, Dining Editor
BREAKING NEWS… When the chemistry is just right, you’ve got the winning formula. Start with friends and former “Breaking Bad” co-stars Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston. Add their artisanal mezcal brand, Dos Hombres, a partnership of the two friends after the cult-favorite series ended. Mix in epic food pairings by Hawai‘i’s five-star, five-diamond Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, and the result is dazzling, indeed.
Yes, lovers of mezcal and Mexican cuisine may soon savor the collaboration between the A-list actors and the posh resort at Dos Hombres Cocina pop-up from Aug. 25 to Dec. 2 outdoors at the Fountain View Lawn surrounded by tropical gardens. The new al fresco dining experience draws its inspiration from the birthplace of mezcal, Oaxaca, the sprawling southwestern Mexican state renowned for its mole and other cuisine. Four Seasons Wailea culinary team consulted with Oaxacan-born Scottsdale National Golf Club Executive Chef Mel Mecinas to create the menu.
“Similar to Oaxaca, Hawai‘i’s rich microclimates boast a variety of fresh produce,” said Chef Mecinas. “It’s been fun to discover synergies between the regions and create a dynamic menu that complements the list of vibrant Dos Hombres cocktails the team has created.”
Feast on scallop crudo, crispy chicarrón, mezcal-cured local snapper, special house-made mole and mucho more as you sip Dos Hombres mezcal made with espadin agave hand-selected from the hillsides of a small Oaxacan village. Sip the Mezcal Cantarito in a traditional clay cup; the Coco-Crush, brimming with cream of coconut and fresh lime from the Chef’s Garden; or opt for tequila-based drinks from the full bar.
“We are both so excited for Dos Hombres Mezcal to collaborate with Four Seasons Resort Maui to create a pop-up Mexican restaurant, serving authentic Oaxacan food and exceptional mezcal cocktails,” Paul and Cranston said in a shared statement. “We could not be more thrilled that our brands have joined together to create this special experience on this island paradise.”
Dos Hombres Cocina will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays, 5-9 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended. (808) 874-8000.
MAKING A SPLASH… Fairmont Kea Lani is thrilled to launch a new dinner concept at its already wildly popular poolside restaurant. AMA Bar & Grill now features seafood specials and evening hours of the swim-up bar.
As the sun sets over the ocean, sip thoughtfully crafted cocktails, dive into the seafood platter with oysters, snow crab and lobster tail; and raw ahi crudo and salmon nigiri sushi with yuzu aioli. Hot entrees also tempt – from Kauai prawns in spicy garlic and limu butter to miso-marinated cod.
Executive Chef Michael Lofaro’s culinary team proudly draws inspiration from the traditional Hawaiian outrigger canoe and the lifestyle it embodies. Ama is the outrigger on the canoe. Just like in an island canoe culture, new AMA lunch menu items are all casual and meant to be enjoyed among friends by the ocean. Savor from lemongrass grilled shrimp bahn mi in a French baguette with pickled carrots, radish, cilantro, jalapeno and spicy aioli; to grilled fresh catch with furikake sushi rice, sweet soy, limu-tomato salsa and namasu.
Pa‘ia BREWING INTEREST…With the legendary Charley P. Woofer restaurant a thing of Pa‘ia’s past, it’s wonderful to see Pa‘ia Bay Coffee & Bar stepping up to the plate to fill the town’s breakfast void. It also is drawing in hungry diners for lunch, dinner, Sunday Jazz Brunch and grab-and-go items. While Pa‘ia Bay has been a tucked-away staple for a decade, it recently moved across Hana Highway into the former Dollie’s in a much more visible location.
“We now have double the seating and a new menu,” said co-owner Sarah Lovetre. “We couldn’t be more excited about our new, beautiful, open-air dining. Co-owner Danny Keevil and I can’t wait to show the town our true potential.”
The bigger Pa‘ia Bay boasts a bigger kitchen. Chef Greg Shepherd (who was a partner at Cow Pig Bun) and Sous Chef Ryan Averhart let you wake up to smoked salmon bagels; avocado toast with cherry tomatoes, arugula, sprouts, cilantro, radish and fresh lime; and loco moco with French onion-soup gravy and beef patty with six-minute egg over rice.
The Sunday Jazz Brunch features Mark Johnstone and Friends. Other regular events include the popular Trivia with Trish the Dish on Wednesday nights. Daily Aloha Hour from 3 to 5 p.m. features $5 off select appetizers such as poke, shrimp ceviche, hurricane fries and more.
MUCH ADO ABOUT WAILUKU… Located smack dab in the middle of Wailuku at 62 N. Market St. next to historic ‘Iao Theater is local favorite, SixtyTwo MarcKet. Open for breakfast and lunch, it’s a big draw for its high-quality foods, casual ambience and moderate prices.
“Maui’s unique microclimates grant us the privilege of enjoying an impressive variety of produce,” said Chef-owner Marc McDowell. “From the juicy Maui-grown watermelons and luscious mangos to the sweet Kula corn and flavorful onions, each ingredient tells a story of the island’s fertile soil and vibrant agricultural heritage.”
This summer, seasonal offerings are refreshing mango-flavored yogurt, signature eggs Benedict with pesto Hollandaise, and mango ricotta cheese-stuffed French toast. Savory options are prime short rib brushed in mango barbecue sauce, packed in bao bun and topped with shallot-cucumber-carrot namasu and crispy fried onions.
“At SixtyTwo MarcKet, we take pride in providing a farm-to-table experience that celebrates the flavors of Maui. Our commitment to showcasing locally sourced produce ensures that every dish is a true reflection of the island’s culinary paradise.”
OUT KAPALUA WAY… A new à la carte menu has launched at Cane & Canoe, and word around West Maui is that it is rocking with flavors. Favorites include Ora King Salmon with Meyer lemon risotto, local mushrooms, asparagus and arugula; Grilled Kona Kanpachi and Kauai Shrimp with hapa rice, green papaya salad, peanuts, and green coconut curry; and Duroc pork chop with apple-braised red cabbage, spätzle, caramelized Maui onion jam, and macadamia-nut gremolata.
“Hapa rice,” by the way, is kind of a yin and yang, half-and-half, black-and-white rice presentation. All of these entrees and then some are served at Montage Kapalua Bay’s signature restaurant. Executive Chef Eric Faivre and Chef de Cuisine Albert Sandoval are at the helm.
Fronting the Montage property is The Cliff House, a historic venue originally built in 1940. It is now available for private dining, corporate or social groups. Drink in panoramic sunset views in this private space over the water. Enjoy a Hawaiian-inspired, multi-course meal with the option to enhance your experience with live music, custom décor, an extended wine list, and/or photography.
After a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort is pleased to reintroduce its popular Chef’s Table experience at the signature Ka’ana Kitchen restaurant. It was bestowed with the 2022 ‘Aipono Silver Award from this magazine. Enticing with six courses and optional wine pairings, the Chef’s Table is tailored to your tastes.
Dine right in the heartbeat of the open-air kitchen and chat up the talented culinary team led by Executive Chef Ritchard Cariaga. They slice, dice and sauté your meal right in front of you. Learn as you watch. There is limited seating Tuesdays to Fridays. Do make reservations, due to its popularity. Sommelier Tia Hubbard may pour Billecart-Salmon brut rose, a most civilized starter, along with Karthauserhof Riesling, Pouilly-Fuissé, Barolo, a Super Tuscan and Royal Tokaji dessert wine from Hungary.
Chef de Cuisine Chance Savell impresses with kampachi crudo, grilled-octopus salad, and intermezzo of green apple celery sorbet with citrus crema and Royal Ossetra caviar; 40-day, dry-aged striploin; and the pièce de résistance of ube s’mores. Ube, or sweet potato, is all the rage these days in Maui desserts and ice creams.
“The menus are all six courses and customized for guest preferences and their dietary restrictions,” said Chef Cariaga. “Based on what is in season, I update the menus every few months.”
Ah, yes – Maui is “Breaking Good” these days with a culinary chemistry that is hard to resist, from the Oaxacan and mezcal cocina popping up to the tempting Chef’s Table experience.