The luau and Chef’s tasting menu were two complete experiences that I’d highly recommend.
Part 3 – The Dinner Experiences
The Wailea Beach Resort by the Marriott is a beautiful facility. We had to walk through most of the grounds to get to the place where the luau is held. I’ve never in my life stayed at a resort and needless to say, I was in awe.
I didn’t realize that there was an open bar included in the ticket price! Well, we were happy girls for the evening 🙂 Regular price for an adult ticket is $118 US pp. Since it is an evening of entertainment (story-telling, dancing, singing and fire!), lots of food and booze, I think it’s a fair price for the fun. There were even activities for both kids and adults – the three of us got temporary tattoos and flowers in our hair.
We got to see the pig in the pit and we also got to see them take it out. Kinda cool! I tried to get a video of the pig retrieval but it didn’t work so well. Anyways, you can see what the pit looks like after. The pig was in a wire mesh and they lifted it out and put it on the metal tray. They hauled it over to the buffet area, pulled it apart with their hands, and dinner was served!
I ate a lot…
And then I ate dessert…
And then the sun set and the entertainment began!
This luau is highly rated and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, it’s a touristy thing – but the folks who put on the luau can sure sing, dance and entertain. I would recommend this luau for the location (it wasn’t too far from our condo in Kihei) and the beautiful venue, the free booze, the good food and the great entertainment value.
Maui Chef’s Table is an open-air kitchen at The Maui Tropical Plantation, in Waikapu. If you get there just a little bit early you can walk around the grounds and check out the small boutique across the way. There is a restaurant on site called The Mill House – it looks quite nice and the exterior was undergoing renovations when we were there. The Maui Tropical Plantation was described to us as 800 acres of active farmland that produces coffee (which they roast on site), pineapple and cattle. The Mill House offers a new menu each month, depending on what ingredients are in season. They source all their produce locally and use as much local protein as possible. Each dish throughout the evening was introduced by one of the Chef’s working in the kitchen. They explained the inspiration behind the dish, who created it, and what the ingredients were.
Seated at communal tables with other couples (there were 6 of us at our table), we were able to get up, check out what the Chef’s were preparing in the kitchen, and walk around and chat with other tables if we wanted to. The dinner was intended to be a complete experience – 3.5 hours for $150 US with dinner and gratuity included. The total after the dollar conversion (and maybe some tax?), the total came out to $214 CAD pp. Any drinks you ordered were simply billed at the end of the evening. Y was our designated driver for the evening – dropping us off and picking us up – so C and I split a bottle of wine and had some after-dinner drinks as well.
I was pretty excited for this dinner – I’m all about giving Chef’s the freedom to experiment in the kitchen. Since I hadn’t been eating beef for a while before the trip, I was a little concerned about what I may have to eat but I told myself I wasn’t going to reject anything – bring it on! One thing to note about this experience – they will not cater to allergies or sensitivities or general dislikes – what they put in front of you is what you get! Unfortunately there was one light burned out in the whole room – directly above me (you can see it in the photo above)… so some of my photos aren’t that great.
To start we were each given an amuse bouche of a coconut sorbet sandwiched between a cake of poppy seeds steeped in lime and simple syrup, topped with sturgeon caviar. At first we were all interested but unsure; they turned out to be crunchy, salty and unique little treats.
Next we were served Kampachi fish belly – slightly smoked, seared and sliced thin. The fish was served with baby turnip and dashi flavoured with soy sauce and rice vinegar. The dish was unlike anything I’d ever had before – super light and tasty, with a hint of citrus, smoke and it wasn’t too fishy. This was my favourite dish of the evening.
The next dish was vegetarian and my second least favourite of the evening. Fresh baby carrots, hearts of palm, herbs, and micro asparagus grown at 4000 ft were served with a preserved meyer lemon puree that was way too overpowering and very tart. The dish would have been okay with just a hint of the lemon, but alas, I did not like it.
And of course, there had to be blood sausage on the menu… I think I was even a little bit scared to try it! But WOW – this dish was so delicious! The blood sausage was bright red inside, topped with potato puree and yacon root (which tasted like apple). The dish was topped with cilantro and pork confit. Everything went so well together this was my second favourite dish of the evening! It just goes to show that you should not judge a dish by its name (but still, no dish should include the word blood in its title!) 🙂
We were next served parker house rolls – buns with honey butter. They were so light and tasty with a slight sweetness to them. The butter was whipped with honey and I think all of us had a second roll they were so good!
The agnolotti were stuffed with sweet potato and served with oven roasted and slightly pickled mushrooms, macadamia nuts and a brown butter caramel sauce with fried sage. The pasta was all handmade and this was another winning dish.
We were next served a palate cleansing shot made with guava, vinegar and a local plant of some species. It was definitely vinegar based and it made your mouth pucker, but it was surprisingly quite nice.
I made my way over to the kitchen again and checked out the fish coming off the cooktop. Yum! Next on the menu was Kampachi fish, pan seared and served with one of two other kinds of fish, either: Onaga or Opaka. I’m not sure which one either of us got, but we each got something different. The fish was served with a fish consommé made from fish bones, fennel, garlic and caramelized broccoli. The veggies were romanesco and a relative of brocollini, plus there was a broccoli puree underneath the fish. There was a bit of preserved lemon on top (thankfully just a tad!) and the fish was very light, moist and tender – it melted in my mouth.
The next dish was pretty much my least favourite of them all, and not because it was beef (well, it was steer). I’ve never before seen so much red on a plate. Red on red on red and throw in some pink for fun; it just looked like something from a horror movie and it was not at all appealing! The steer was marinated with juniper, the onions were cooked in sous vide and blended. The beets were cooked in chicken fat and smoked. The other red sauce was made of pickled onions and beets. The steer was tender, but I’m honestly surprised any Chef thought this presentation was a good idea… I can’t even say that it tasted good.
With the evening coming to a close I went for a glass of this dessert wine. Wow. I need to put this on my wishlist. If you like dessert wines, give this one a shot!
Dessert was a slice of braised butternut squash with pumpkin cake and pumpkin seed crumble. They took the liquid from the braise and made it into ice cream! This was a very nice fall dessert – it was an interesting use of what we would typically consider a vegetable (squash)… it wasn’t too sweet, with a nice spice to it.
All in all this was a great experience and I would do it again, since every time would be something different!
@millhousemaui @mauichefstable #mauichefstable #millhousefood