Tee Time

It may not be situated at posh Kapalua or tony Wailea, but Kono’s on the Green at the Elleair Golf Course in Kihei certainly holds its own.

Owner-chef Kono Akao takes pride in his cuisine and the ambience. It’s got sweeping ocean and island views from its perch above Piilani Highway off Lipoa Street at the entrance of the Maui Research & Technology Park, cushy couches in the living-room-like lounge, a new air-conditioning system and originals by artist Peter Lik.

You may opt to dine on the spacious lanai or rent it for a private party; listen to Katya Williams on piano Thursdays, Netto Peraza on Fridays and Saturdays and live Motown hits on the first Sunday of the month. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hours are lively on a daily basis.

“At Kono’s, my dinner menu is going back to my roots,” says the native of Japan, who went to France as an exchange student and attended culinary school. “Of course, I still have pasta and pizza so the family can enjoy.”

Francophiles may now savor sauteed scallops and foie gras duo with green Anjou pear compote for $18; port wine lamb pops; and deconstructed salmon and asparagus crepe in basil-cream sauce. Steaks and some cheeses are local – and prices are definitely right.

Sink your teeth into Maui Cattle Co. filet mignon with ponzu cream sauce and garlic rosemary red potatoes; and Kauai prawns in lemon-caper beurre blanc.

Akao was executive chef of the former Diamond Resort, where he masterfully fused French and Japanese cuisine at the acclaimed Le Gunji. He eventually opened Antonio’s, and in recent years, Kono’s on the Green, which still serves popular and casual daytime fare such as sushi, beer and sandwiches. He even offers a $10 breakfast buffet daily with scrambled eggs, quiche, fried rice, biscuits, sausage, bacon, corned beef hash and two gravies. Bottomless mimosas are $14, or $9 each.

On a recent visit, we were bowled over by the lobster and sun-dried tomato ravioli in a creamy truffle-lobster bisque, drizzled with white truffle oil; and several other of Kono’s French-fusion delicacies. I know that if you try it, you’ll be bowled over, too. For more details, call 633-4220.