Black Rock

With a name like Black Rock Steak and Seafood, you know you may sink your teeth into bone-in rib eye in sauce Madeira; and hook up to fresh catch of the day, grilled with lilikoi-lime butter.

Now, the Sheraton’s culinary team has kicked up Black Rock’s menu a notch or two – and you’ll find all manner of local mini bites, flat breads, chef’s boards and specialty side dishes – in addition to the big and beefy main plates.

Black Rock bowled me over on a recent visit, and I already want to go back to try more tastes. I especially coveted the hunters’ board with sausages made of Merquez lamb, venison and wild boar, served with a pickle jar, whole-grain mustard, compote du jour and taro focaccia.

The seafood paella was also incredible and executed to perfect doneness with tastes that popped. Ditto for the Asian-pear flat bread pizza with garlic, gorgonzola and mozzarella cheeses and tomato sauce.

“We just launched the new Black Rock menu last Wednesday, and the inspiration was all about sharing, keeping the prices low, and offering a lot of things that would appeal to everyone,” says Executive Sous Chef Raymond Nicasio, who created the new menu under the direction of Executive Chef Greg Gaspar.

“As we say here at the Sheraton, ‘Food is better enjoyed shared.’ So we now have small plates of this and that for those who want to try more adventurous flavors. We still have large plates – and both are great for sharing.”

For instance, the moco Poutine will surely appeal to Canadians. It’s a local spinoff of their national snack. Black Rock’s version features braised short rib with griddled egg, cheese and mushroom gravy over fries. It’s a fun, messy indulgence.

The rock ‘n cheese fondue appeals to beer lovers, utilizing the Sheraton’s own Black Rock signature lager, along with emmental, gruyere and smoked gouda cheeses and taro focaccia for dipping.

Seafood lovers may also dive into the iced platter with oysters on the half shell, snow crab claws, tiger shrimp and three fun sauces – including kim chee puree.

“We try to source at least 80 percent local ingredients,” says Nicasio. “Like our pohole salad. Some call it ‘fiddlehead fern.’ It comes with Maui onions, red cherry tomatoes, dried shrimp and black vinegar.”

Do you love Manila clams? Chef Nicasio prepares them three ways, including with Portuguese sausage; with ginger, lime, garlic lemongrass and coconut milk; and with fresh tomato, lemon, Maui onions, coriander and ginger in shrimp broth.

“We designed the small plates without any carbs,” says Nicasio. “It’s a healthful way to eat. Only our large composed plates come with carbs, and we have sides of say, Kahuku corn risotto, truffled mac and cheese, and musubi (rice wrapped in nori).”

In addition, mark your calendars for two upcoming culinary events at the Sheraton. Maui Craft Session 2014 will flow July 12 on the Ocean Lawn with spirits, beer, food and cigars. The theme is “Old World Versus New World Style Production.”

Sheraton will also shake things up with the Fresh Mixology 101: Kaanapali Craft as part of Ka’anapali Fresh culinary weekend on Aug. 30. But don’t wait, check out Black Rock’s new menu now. It’s worth every last bite -only, you should share.