Chef Peter Merriman. Photo credit: Charla Photography
As fine dining is a highly desired component in the itineraries of the luxury traveling baby boomer, then a dining experience at Merriman’s Kapalua is tantamount to a requirement in the Maui visitors’ travel plan.
Twenty five years ago, Chef Peter Merriman opened his first of five Hawaiian restaurants in Waimea, the cowboy upcountry on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Since then he has been a Finalist in the “Best Chef Northwest & Hawaii” by the prestigious James Beard Foundation, is the Founding President of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine Chefs Organization, and has been dubbed “The Pied Piper of Hawaii Regional Cuisine” by the Los Angeles Times.
We’ve enjoyed several wondrous dining experiences with Chef Merriman on the Big Island, and we’re now very pleased to share with you our recent dining experience at Merriman’s Kapalua on the northern shores of Maui.
Merriman’s Kapalua sets within the prestigious Kapalua Resort, which includes the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, and possesses perhaps the most beautiful setting in the resort offering ocean-front tropical sunsets nightly from a spot called “The Point”.
Travel Tip: get reservations early on. We missed a sunset dining experience as the restaurant was completely sold out during that time period. Wah!
Note: click image for larger view. Photo credit: Merriman’s Kapalua
Seated at a table on the patio, we listened to the waves lap upon the shore as we perused the menu and noshed on a plate of fresh island vegetables.
To begin our gastronomical journey, Carol opted for Merriman’s Soup of the Day: Green Curry Lobster Soup (tomatoes, diced asparagus, fresh thai basil).
For my appetizer, I opted for a chef’s special item: Paella with Prawns and Clams.
The soup was delish, but we found our forks doing battle over the many flavors found in the Paella. YUM!
Did you know that you can get a fresh Maine-style lobster in Hawaii? The Hawaiian spiny lobsters lack the big claw and world-wide fame of the Maine lobster. However, the Maine lobster can’t live in the warm tropical waters of Hawaii. Therefore, enterprising folks are pumping ice-cold waters from the depths of the Pacific and growing Maine lobsters in a farm on the Big Island.
The Hawaiians call them Keahole Lobsters and for Carol’s entrée she enjoyed a duo of Butter Poached Keahole Lobster (pan-seared corn cake, tamimi farm cherry tomatoes, kula corn, arugula, charred tomato vinaigrette), and Merriman’s Original Wok Charred Ahi (won bok cabbage slaw, wasabi soy dipping sauce). Yum! Yum! Yum!
Whenever I find myself in Hawaii, I am prone to opt for some of the fresh local fish.
For my entrée, I opted for another chef’s special: Kona Kampachi (herb-crusted, pan-seared, purple cauliflower couscous, upcountry kale, shaved fennel, thai chile citrus reduction, green onion, radish).
Absolutely out of this world!
With our bellies full, for dessert we opted to share Lilikoi Tart (coconut molasses crust, house whipped cream, bruléed lemon).
Lilikoi is what the Hawaiians call Passion Fruit, and let me just say that this is quite likely in my top ten best desserts of all time! I’ve become a huge fan of Lilikoi and this was absolutely gobsmacking, as my British friends say! Wow!
What a wonderful dining experience!
As I mentioned above, if you enjoy fine dining, then a visit to Merriman’s Kapalua is an absolute must!
Disclosure: our wonderful dining experience was provided by the kind folks at Merriman’s Kapalua, and our Maui press trip was provided by the Maui Convention and Visitors Bureau. Thanks!
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