After pronouncing the Chef’s Ahi Tower both a feast for our eyes and delight to our taste buds, our fair faced server offered to send Chef Romeo Arruiza out to meet us. The restaurant has only been open a few weeks and already they are netting over 60 diners a night, purely on word of mouth and repeat dining resort guests who seem eager to try everything on the menu. Count me in; even the Caesar salad, which typically leaves me bored, garnered my affection with a lovely presentation, luscious avocado addition, and outstanding wasabi parmesan dressing.I was chasing down the last bits of the romaine heart with my chopsticks when a gentlemen in a white jacket approached, who I assumed was Chef Romeo. He turned out to be the jovial and eager-to-please sushi chef, Hiro “Duke” Hoshimoto, insisting I try a few of his specialties as well. While awaiting our main course, Duke urged us to visit his sushi bar across the room.
We gave him a running start, lingering to sip a wine from our own cellar. (For the next few months Maui Grill is awaiting their liquor license but encourages guests to bring in their favorite libation.) Soon, Chef Romeo Ariuzza appeared at our table, sharing his 30 year history in the food and beverage industry on Maui, (Kapalua Bay Hotel; Westin Kaanapali Ocean Villas; Honolua Store) as well as some secrets of his scrumptious sauces and overall approach to cooking. “People like lots of flavor and good value. That’s what we are trying to do here; something a little out of the ordinary.” We toasted to that.
Duke beckoned from the sushi bar. He hadconstructed two gorgeous rolls – one with ahi and black caviar from Japan; the other smoked salmon with shredded salmon skin. Both were to die for and would have made a meal on their own. Duke excitedly revealed his plans to serve sushi at lunch; a first in West Maui. I predict he’ll have many regulars.Already impressed and sated beyond comfort, our first meal at Maui Grill was still far from over! Our entrees arrived – lovely triplets of fresh catch, each wearing a different coating, drizzled with unique sauce, and resting on an appropriate cushion of rice, potato or veggie. Pistachio Dusted Onaga, Blue Crab Crusted Ono. Macadamia Crusted Mahi Mahi, any could become my favorite depending on the day of the week.
The finale (or so we thought) was Pineapple Crème Brulee – another surprising presentation that makes the dish even more charming to behold. The traditional custard was deliciously seasoned with light hints of cinnamon which balanced the pineapple well. To my great pleasure, the brulee coating on the custard required cracking. Aficionados know this means; it means it’s as it should be.
Bidding adieu to our server after a satisfying meal, we made our way toward the exit where we were hijacked once again by Duke, the friendliest sushi chef on the planet. He had prepared one last tasting bit for us to take home – his specialty, the Scallop Dynamite, a creamy, bubbly, oniony, oh-so-rich and decadent dish of scallops and shrimp in a casserole. I thought to myself, “This is gonna be quite a breakfast of champions tomorrow…”There’s no doubt I’ll hurry back to try the plethora of other tempting menu items such as Slow Roasted Herb Crusted Prime Rib at $18.95; Ginger Wok Fried Tiger Prawns, $18.95; or Steamed Alaska King Crab Legs, ½ Lb $24.95/full lb. $29.95. Dinner is served from 4:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Breakfast and/or lunch is served 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. daily. Try the Chef’s Watermelon BBQ Pork Ribs for $11.95; a Crab/Avocado Omelette. Breakfast all day encompasses everything from Seared Ahi Benedict to Baked Island Banana Pancake ($7.95) or Bagels and Lox.
- Great Value
- Delightful Presentations
- Positive Energy/Staff
- Unique Preparations
- Satisfying Portions
- Low-Key Atmosphere
- Wonderful Menu Variety