Lahaina Grill

The Annoyer prefaced Lahaina Grill as our fanciest meal of the entire trip.  So The Keeper and I made sure to wear our nicest outfits with heels, and basically look a little less Hawaii and little more LA.  Lahaina is quite a drive from Wailea so we were lucky to be able to push back our reservation because it takes a bit of time to get our LA faces on ok?  Turns out we got the nice semi private dining area, which kicked the dinner off on a special note.  The place is definitely a white linen and suited waiters kind of place so check your flip flops at the door.  Although, I’m sure they’d still welcome you dressed in the standard Hawaiian attire.  Lahaina Grill serves contemporary seafood and steak with a Hawaiian twist in an elegant fine dining setting.  Translated, the place is NOT cheap.

Bread & Herb Compound Butter
Warm and soft bread with gobs of flavored fat makes for happy campers anywhere.



The Cake Walk
lobster, pacific rock crab and diver scallop with avocado relish and mustard cream
seared ahi tuna cake with avocado relish, sushi rice, nori, tamari ginger vinaigrette
white shrimp cake with hoisin, crème fraîche
I didn’t get to try any of this, but it is one of the more popular items at Lahaina Grill.

 

 

Salad of Dungeness Crab fresh asparagus, avocado, tahitian vanilla bean infused shallot vinaigrette, reduced balsamic vinaigrette, truffle oil, local mixed greens
I was really bummed they didn’t have anymore of the toy box tomato salad.  It sounded so refreshing, just what I needed.  I opted for the crab salad instead which was bursting with big hunks of crab.  The local mixed greens wasn’t that interesting, and the dressing was either something you found ingenious or weird.  Vanilla in savory foods, seafood no less, seemed a little out of place or unharmonious to my palate.  I’m no expert, but I don’t think anyone has ever got away with that on Top Chef.  I would have preferred the truffle oil to be a more dominant flavor but alas, vanilla won.  I still liked the dish because the crab was so fresh and sweet.

Wagyu Beef Ravioli black truffle, porcini, portobello, braised apple and morel mushroom brandy cream sauce
This was a fantastic pasta dish, considering the place is more about meat and seafood.  Sometimes meat filled raviolis can run a little dry but this was so moist from that combination of wagyu and mushrooms.  The sauce was the perfect umami filled complement to the pasta.  It was aromatic and balanced perfectly with the sweet, savory, and creaminess.  Yums!



Oven Roasted Butternut Squash sage and brown butter
You’d think think lobster and foie would be enough for 3SB but he had to order some sides.  Nothing too special going on here.  It’s just as described.  I guess if you love butternut squash you might appreciate this more than I did.

Roasted Sweet Corn fresh off the cob, herb butter
I enjoyed the corn a bit more.  Sweet, crispy.

Lobster & Foie Grois steamed two pound kona lobster, sauteed spinach, mushrooms, goat cheese, crispy pancetta chips, bernaise sauce, seared foie gras, herbed mashed potatoes
This was such an unnecessarily decadent dish.  I don’t really think foie and lobster are things that need to be paired.  Each are good as the main highlight of any stand alone dish.  Who other than 3SB would order it?  The goat cheese was totally wrong here.  As long as your bite didn’t include that, then everything was fine here.



Seared Lion Paw Scallops potato-celery mash, roasted sweet corn relish, crispy pancetta chips, truffle, lobster beurre blanc
I really wanted the meatballs entree, but The Annoyer made me feel bad for not ordering seafood here.  The scallops were seared nicely.  The sauce had subtle lobster notes.  I can’t fault the dish for anything, but I still longed for the meatballs.



Maui Onion and Sesame Seed Crusted Seared Ahi fresh local sashimi grade ahi tuna steak, vanilla bean jasmine rice, apple cider butter vinaigrette
The Annoyer talked up this dish so much, but it was a huge disappointment.  I think his undying and unconditional love for tuna makes him a bit biased.  The Keeper, The Flatulent Snorer, and I were all a bit underwhelmed.  I’m not a super huge fan of crusted fishes or ahi tuna.  It’s such a bland fish.  Even though it’s super fresh in Hawaii, the meat doesn’t somehow become more flavorful or anything.  The onion and sesame seed crust was kinda meh.  Overall, the dish lacked that special kick.  Maybe don’t take my word for it because legions of Yelpers love this dish just as much as The Annoyer.

Vanilla Crème Brûleé classic custard infused with maui vanilla beans
Kauai Pie oreo crusted kona coffee ice cream pie layered with chocolate fudge, coconut flakes, macadamia nuts
Sunken Chocolate Cake flourless chocolate decadence with kona coffee ice cream
Triple Berry Pie raspberries, blueberries, black currants, light flakey crust, whipped cream
Road to Hana layers of hawaiian vintage chocolate cake, chocolate sour cream mousse, macadamia nut caramel

Everyone was pretty darn stuffed, but didn’t protest a sweet bite or two.  Leave it to 3SB to run away with that and order a whole sampler platter.  The waiter really talked up the signature berry pie but it was pretty average.  Perhaps it would have been delightful served warm?  The Kauai pie was probably my favorite, being just a notch above ordinary, so maybe that’s not saying much.  Seriously, all the desserts are the standard fare you could find at any traditional American restaurant on the mainland.  Throwing in words like “Kona coffee,” “Maui vanilla beans,” and “Hawaiian vintage” did nothing to spice things up.

The ingredients were fresh and local.  The execution was spot on.  The flavors were pretty good for the most part.  The ambiance was upscale for Maui standards.  One would think the price tag was well deserved, but everyone seemed to grumble a little bit after the check was paid.  Days later, some were still lamenting the coinage spent here.  I can’t exactly pinpoint the reasons, except to say that perhaps the food was more “ho hum” than “oh mmm.”  And maybe a lot of us have had more interesting meals at that price point, so our perspective is skewed.  Anyways, the place is a nice spot to celebrate something special or to get away from the beyond casual and chill vibe that defines Hawaii.

 

10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome!
8 – Very good
7 – Good 
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible

1 – Do NOT eat here




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