If you haven’t already noshed on gnocchi at Matteo’s Pizzeria (100 Wailea Ike, 808-874-1234), you’re missing out. Originally slated to open in the shopping center above Joes’s Bar & Grill, Wailea’s new pizza kitchen surfaced instead at the old Lobster Cove/Harry’s Sushi location. Matteo’s is BYOB for now, and it’s the cheapest bite around. They’re practically giving fine Italian fare away—and it is fine. Italian-born Chef Matteo Mitsura can’t refrain from shaving fresh parmesan on his handmade pies and pastas. Specials include rich gnocchi with perfectly crisp asparagus and salmon in a delectable porcini mushroom sauce. Service is cafeteria-style, but co-owner Mike O’Dwyer from Mulligan’s is hands-on, cracking jokes and delivering the pies with a few accented one-liners.
Carbohydrate fever is overtaking the island—at Serpico’s in Pukalani (7 Aewa Pl.), where Brooklyn-born pizza chefs shovel pies and calzones from the oven. Giant calzones overflowing with ricotta cheese are the stuff of East Coasters’ daydreams. It’s also BYOB. No worries—head down to the Ha‘iku Cannery, where rumor has it that Kahana’s Maui Brewing Company will be opening a brew pub. Across the street, Consuelo’s Catering & Deli (771 Ha‘iku Rd., 808-575-2687) is well worth the trouble of navigating a parking spot at the busy Kokomo-Ha‘iku intersection. Owner Consuelo Bronick expanded her catering biz to include a deli stocked with free-range meats and organic salads. Carrot and cashew paté, beef tenderloin puff pastries, and tasty chayote salad that hails from Bronick’s native Brazil, are just a few of the temptations behind the glass. Weekdays only, 5 to 9 p.m. Some of us don’t have to leave our desks to enjoy her cooking—Consuelo delivers 150+ organic school lunches to the students at Haleakala Waldorf School each day. Now that’s what we call food for thought! (I don’t know what they served at your school, but St. Anthony’s served us a lot of hamburger surprise.)
Speaking of surprise—that’s not a ghost you see flickering at the edge of the Ma‘alaea waterfront: Ma‘alaea Grill is back! (300 Ma‘alaea Rd., 808-243-2206), Same great place, same great food, different paint job. Dana Pastula has returned to manage the restaurant for the current owner, and she’s brought her magic tongs with her.
On the West Side, Chef Ryan Luckey left his post at Tropica to take over the active kitchen at ‘Aipono winner Pineapple Grill in Kapalua (200 Kapalua Dr., 808-669-9600). The young chef looked right at home mingling in the crowd at the restaurant’s first anniversary party, a very chic benefit for Hale Makua. Better Brands sponsored the carved-ice martini bars—shots poured through a shaft of ice landed magically into the martini glass below. The Banyan Tree, Sansei, VINO, and the Plantation House all sent their heavyweight chefs to represent Kapalua’s culinary superiority. Sheesh! With that many good restaurants in arm’s reach of one another, it’s a wonder anyone in Kapalua finds the time to golf!
On the sweet side, your gossip found that one of the best beverages at this year’s Wine and Food Festival in Kapalua was frozen: the Armagnac ice cream created by the Ritz-Carlton’s new pastry chef. The top-shelf scoop was a super cool ending to a great tasting event. Oenophiles—don’t miss the dessert tent next year!
And finally, Gossip Gourmet’s word of warning: don’t let hot tips grow cold before testing! Regrettably Miz Gossip took too long to report on Vasi’s Gourmet Deli—by the time the story hit the press in the last issue of Maui No Ka ‘Oi, Vasi had moved on. You can find her crab and artichoke dips for sale at Costco, but the gyros, alas, are history.