Dim Sum and then SOME

Four Seasons Resort Maui transports you to China with ‘dot heart,’ launches new Beachwalk Cafe — and more

Photos clockwise from left: The resort’s Executive Chef Craig Dryhurst is transporting Oahu’s Chinatown to Maui with dim sum on Saturday nights in the Lobby Lounge. Sushi is also on a roll and the new Maui Gold vodka cocktail stays icy cold in fun copper glasses. • Four Seasons photo (top right) and Carla Tracy photos

The Lobby Lounge at the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea may be the most underrated restaurant on property. But it’s one of my favorites.

The people watching is insanely fun. The craft cocktails are cutting edge. The free olives and nut mix are top notch. The views overlooking the fountains, pool, ocean and Neighbor Islands are magical at sunset when the sky lights up.

And the nightly live music is soothing Hawaiian at dusk with a hula dancer and a torch lighting ceremony thrown into the mix and there are contemporary island tunes later in the evening.

Now on Saturdays, you may eat to your heart’s content of dim sum, aka “dot heart,” that beat with authentic Cantonese tastes and aromas and textures.

“Ferraro’s is Italian and DUO is all about steak and seafood, so we thought we would add a Chinese food element to the sushi and the flat breads and such at Lobby Lounge,” explains Executive Chef Craig Dryhurst. “We tried it for Festive (holiday season) and for Chinese New Year and now dim sum is featured every Saturday night.”

The new Beachwalk Cafe offers high-top share tables from which to sip your espresso drinks and eat panini. • Four Seasons photo

Dryhurst brings in the exotic morsels from Chinatown on Oahu. No Maui restaurant is doing dim sum these days, so it’s an added bonus for his guests.

“We have a really cool fish supplier who told us his secret source in Chinatown,” says Dryhurst. “We started with 36 different types and it was a fun tasting. But we took it down to what would be best for our guests and what we like. We wanted a home run on each dumpling and we have it. People know and love our choices.”

For now, the server will bring a share steamer basket to the table with seven types of dim sum and three dipping sauces, such as spicy chili; soy and ginger; and soy, green onion and sesame.

The steamer basket is opened before your eyes and inside you’ll discover translucent shrimp har gow; pork and shrimp siu mai, an open-topped steamed dumpling; pork and scallion pot sticker; steamed barbecue pork bun, or char siu bao; chicken and mushroom dumpling; shrimp and water chestnut filled dumpling; and steamed chicken bun to round off the selection. The golden-hued siu mai is the only one that can be found at Maui grocers. But the Four Seasons’ morsel is an upscale version. Loose leaf tea is a perfect accompaniment to dim sum and the Lobby Lounge features from organic pineapple green tea to imperial Earl Grey.

“We may extend it to Sundays and we’re playing with the idea of eventually doing dim sum carts. It’s all about share plates at the Lobby Lounge.”

A sushi chef turns out rainbow and spicy tuna rolls as well as sushi platters, sashimi samplers and fresh-as-it-gets Hawaiian ahi poke with unagi and avocado with Molokai sweet potato chips for dipping.

Brian Massa performs Saturday nights. Specialty drinks include Hitachino White Ale from Japan; bubbles like Moet & Chandon of France; fine wines by the glass and bottle; junmai ginjo sake; single-malt whiskeys and scotches; and ports and cognacs. It’s hard to top a beverage list of this caliber, but the new Maui Gold cocktail served cold in a copper pineapple-shaped mug is an eye catcher and a thirst quencher.

In addition, Four Seasons Resort Maui just completed a transformation of its 383 guest rooms and suites, and has also recently introduced Beachwalk Cafe that’s getting a reputation as “the coffee shop with the world’s best view.”

“In the footprint of what was formerly the casual Snorkels snack bar, the new cafe is becoming a popular must-stop for visitors and locals that frequent Wailea’s famous beachwalk,” says Crissa Hiranaga, resort marketing and public relations manager. “Specialties include premium coffee and espresso drinks and housemade gelato. Chairs at high-top communal tables just footsteps from the sand offer cafe-goers spectacular views of Wailea Beach and a prime spot for whale watching as they enjoy their fare.”

What else is cooking at the resort?

Chef Dryhurst is looking at a champagne and oyster bar at Beachwalk Cafe in the evenings.

“And for our hotel guests, we do Pad Thai noodles and bang-bang chicken salad at the pool. We also do a luau on your lanai with laulau, kalua pork, grilled fresh fish and more. We like to keep improving the guest experience,” says the chef, who will appear at the Grow Some Good benefit Saturday (see related story, next page). But not before he inspects the dim sum.

*****

Four Seasons at a glance:

• Lobby Lounge: Open from 5 to 11:30 p.m. nightly with live music. Dim sum is served Saturdays in a large share steamer basket for $35. Sushi, flat breads, cheese plates, desserts and handcrafted cocktails are served nightly.

• Beachwalk Cafe: Is open daily from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the former Snorkels snack bar. Enjoy ice cream made in house and an upgraded breakfast menu.

• DUO Steak & Seafood: Besides its regular a la carte menu served for breakfast and dinner, savor the Raw Bar on Tuesdays, Market Night on Fridays and Kiawe Smoked Prime Rib Night on Sundays.

• For more details: Call the Four Seasons Resort Maui at 874-8000 or visit www.fourseasons.com/maui.

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