Day 1 - Sarento's On The Beach
Picture the perfect beach.
Picture that same perfect beach with a red-stained sky and an orange ball of fire descending - on cue - into the blue ocean.
Now, insert that vision into a frame of softly blowing palm trees and you get Sarento's On The Beach in Kihei which was named after the owner's uncle, Sarento, and not the famed Italian city by the Mediterranean, Sorrento.
Sarento's million dollar sunset beach view makes the menu prices totally acceptable!
This will be your romantic dining experience of your visit to Maui . Food quality is good and maybe even very good for some dishes. The tender Kobe meatballs left us (we shared every dish!) craving for more when it disappeared in minutes! Our other two "fresh catch" dishes: Ahi Ahi and Mahi were equally satisfying after the Mahi was sent back for another minute on the grill. The only letdown was the Caiparinha which was below this Brazilian traveler's benchmark.
We found our sunset dinner table at Sarento's, now it's your turn! Ask for the beach view when you give the attentive, Michael Santa Maria, a call.
Kobe Meatballs Pomodoro Sauce & Pecorino Romano
Maui’s Fresh Catch – Mahi Mahi, Zuchinni Linguini, Herb Pesto Caponata, Served Medium Rare, Goat Cheese Gnocci, Triple Blanched Garlic Purée Puttcanesca Sauce.
Grilled Hawaiian Ahi
Day 2 - Da Kitchen Restaurant in Kahului
Da Kitchen is definitely "local, unique and fun" and not because it was on Andrew Zimmer's Bizarre Foods!
It has its own personality, separate from the typical Hawaiian drive-in or plate lunch takeout. Yet, it retains its local comfort food standard to attract NFL-sized clients everyday of the week (except Sundays as we found out!) who demand well seasoned dishes and American portions!
This haunt attracts even out-of-towners like Reggae band "Katchafire" & actor Jamie Foxx who's favorite dish is the Katsu Chicken which he is rumored to have ordered 3 nights in a row.
We found the "Kalbi Ribs" to be tasty and the unpretentious "Maui Fried Noodles" was a good surprise....the noodles are locally made & delivered by a Ma and Pa team from nearby Pa'ia.
I've already recommended - via my private email list - Da Kitchen to friends and fellow food bloggers who have rushed to the town of Kahului looking for Chef Les' signature creation "Deep Fried Spam Musubi" - did we say "spam?" - and a chance to meet up with the personable investment banker sounding or lawyer looking, Les, and his charming "personality at the door," Myriah Brown.
Spam wrapped in seaweed,
Misoyaki Butterfish (Black Cod)
Day 3 - Koiso Sushi
A special discovery highlighted by fellow food blogger, Bruce of Maui Angels, who helps people remember their wedding day in pictures when he's not eating or blogging.
Koiso is a decade old, cozy, husband and wife run Sushi parlor in Kihei known more to locals and those reading the Japanese-language tour guide books.
Koiso offers very high quality sushi and sashimi. Even though you don't get the quail egg with your uni sushi or the fried shrimp heads unless you ask. It's well worth the drive.
A fresh - and lighter than normal meal - was exactly what the "doctor" ordered before a long flight back to Narita Airport for us.
Try the "fresh today" whiteboard recommendations and you can't go wrong, but be sure to make a reservation in advance, seats are limited at the bar and the only table in the place! I did say "cosy!"