Our main course is paired with a Whitehall Lane Tre Leoni Napa red wine and a Central Valley (Lodi) Michael David Petite Petit. We sip our wine between bites as we share our dishes with one another.
“My favorite is the Seafood Huihui,” says Chris. “The tomato-fish broth combined with the coconut milk creates a great, full flavor, and the lobster, shrimp and scallops are perfectly cooked.”
“The steak is absolutely grilled to perfection,” says Diane.
“I’d come back for the steamed lobster dumplings,” I add.
Our server clears our plates and we lean back in our seats, sated and smiling. The consensus is that we have absolutely no room left for dessert … or do we?
“You have to try something,” urges Rabago when we tell her we’re full. “We have some really great desserts.”
Moments later, our server delivers a banana bread and macadamia nut ice-cream sandwich; a rich, flourless chocolate cake; and a warm pineapple upside-down bread pudding. Suddenly, we have plenty of room in our bellies, and we devour the treats.
“I knew you could do it,” says Rabago, laughing.
As we sip coffee, we reminisce about the venue’s previous life as the Tiki Restaurant. The Tiki Bar — Maui’s first — was located beside the pool, and “Uncle” Dale Simonsen was a fixture behind the bar for 50-some years. He was an essential, foundational member of the staff who helped make KBH a destination hotel, and his aloha spirit was palpable, whether you were a new guest, a returning visitor or a local.
There’s a Hawaiian saying, “You have to look back to move forward.” And though he has since retired, I realize the legacy of kindness and hospitality that Simonsen fostered still remains. Looking forward, I also realize that Huihui will succeed because it’s not just a restaurant; it’s a gathering place for everyone, no matter who you are or where you hail from, and will surely perpetuate KBH’s reputation as Hawai‘i’s “most Hawaiian hotel.”
A hui hou kākou! Until we meet again!