Happy Hour

On a recent trip to 5 Palms Lahaina – happy hour was happening. Music man Curtis Love was a strolling mariachi of the soulful kind. He walked through the lounge area singing as well as playing his version of synthesizer tunes from the Commodores, Air Supply and Michael Jackson.

People sipped fresh cocktails shaken, not stirred by bartender Curtis Kaiwi. They munched appetizers created by Chef Percy Aris. And, many of them jumped up and cut a rug on the dance floor. How many places can you do this in the afternoon on Maui? Please tell, because I’d like to know.

“Curtis just kills it when he plays here on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 8 p.m.,” says Kennan Randolph, 5 Palms’ director of operations.

Melody Dean, general manager, agrees.

“Last week, there was just no room on the dance floor! It was so much fun. We present happy hour two times a day: the first from 3 to 7 p.m., and the second late-night happy hour is from 9 to 11 p.m.”

Sunset is always a spectacle with neighbor island and ocean views, and lots of boat action along Lahaina Roadstead. There are still some late-season whale shows offshore and photo ops are plentiful.

“One of the happening dishes is our new kung-pao calamari. We toss red and green bell peppers with peanuts in spicy sauce and it’s flying out the door,” says Randolph.” We offer it as an entree with rice, too.”

Randolph goes on to say that, “This is the best calamari on the island. I’ll even stake my reputation on it. I don’t have a good one, but I’ll stake it anyway. In fact, the sauce is so good, locals hang onto it after they’re done eating and sprinkle it on their sushi. I kid you not.”

Speaking of sushi, the chefs work behind the koa counter and make Tokyo Rock ‘n Roll like a California roll, but with shrimp tempura inside. It’s layered with hamachi and tobiko caviar.

Other top-selling sushi dishes are the mac nut roll, the salmon roll, the Maguro Lover’s roll, and the Bansai shrimp tempura roll that is crunchy and oh-so good.

Salad lovers may savor iceberg wedges, local beets and goat cheese, classic Caesars and mixed greens grown at Dragon Farm in Launiupoko, tossed with Mandarin orange segments, apples and cherry-wood bacon in citrus-lime vinaigrette.

The trio of sliders is a pleasant surprise of lobster salad, prime rib and kalua pork. Cut each in half and share.

5 Palms is also open for dinner from 5 to 9 nightly, and entrees span from “makai” or to the “sea” to “mauka,” or to the “mountains.” Choose from fresh catch crusted in sea salt and then grilled to lollipop rack of lamb in a glaze of mango and mint.

Saturdays and Sundays, breakfast and lunch are served continously from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eye openers include Greyhounds, Screwdrivers, Bloody Marys and Mimosas. Build your own omelets, crunch a Caesar, or hunker down to Black Angus hamburgers and beer battered fish and chips.

For more details, call 661-0937.