‘Ohana Table

Bring the whole family to experience Black Rock Kitchen’s share meals at Sheraton in Kaanapali

Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa’s Executive Sous Chef Chris Lederer at the resort’s Black Rock Kitchen. Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa photo

“Families that eat together, stay together” is a quote we’ve all heard before. So is “The fondest memories are often made when you gather with your loved ones around the dinner table.”

Now, the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali features a new culinary experience with comforting tastes that will make you feel right at home — and it’s designed for the whole family.

The ‘Ohana Table is a share-style dining concept for parties of eight to 10 in the Black Rock Kitchen, an open-air dining room with views of meandering streams, pools, bridges, ocean and Pu’u Keka’a.

Also known as Black Rock, Pu’u Keka’a is the most famous landmark in Kaanapali. Unlike parties at home, you may watch a cliff diver at sunset leap off of the legendary rock after he races through the spectacular resort property and lights torches all the way up to his plunge point.

Everyone at the table may sit down and enjoy throughout the meal, even mom, or whoever the family cook may be. Relax and let Sheraton chefs slave over hot stoves for your dining pleasure.

The 36-ounce Australian wagyu tomahawk steak is an upgrade to the ‘Ohana Table menu. Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa photo

All you need to do is book at least 24 hours in advance with the resort’s restaurant sales manager to select a menu from a list of options, created by the Executive Sous Chef Chris Lederer.

“Family and food go hand in hand,” says the Oahu-born chef. “When you think of special moments shared with your ohana, your family, many times those memories take place around a dinner table. Backyard barbecues, beach potlucks and celebrations — we love getting together, talking story and celebrating life in Hawaii, and family is a big part of those moments. It’s all about being together.

“The ‘Ohana Table experience focuses on that theme — making it easy for guests to be with each other without worrying about the logistics,” he continues. “You can choose delicious shareable menu items that will be prepared and presented by me and I get the opportunity to share and connect with guests through food.”

Since it launched in December, Lederer has used local fresh catch, tender meats and island-grown vegetables.

Dishes such as ahi poketini, Molokai sweet-potato bisque, ribeye steak, catch of the day in blue-crab crust and sesame-seared ahi all celebrate the variety of products that can be found in Hawaii.

Roasted carrots and garlic fried rice are menu choices. Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa photo

Of course, Lederer has favorites among the many choices. You whittle it down to pick one salad, one appetizer, two entrees and two desserts per table.

“For starters, the pork-belly bao buns are one of my favorites,” he says. “The steamed bao bun with the tender pork and pickled hearts of palm and carrot slaw with jalapeno and cilantro offers a variety of textures and flavors that pack a punch and leave you wanting more.”

He also enthuses about the barbecue baby back ribs, the Alaskan crab cakes and the plump jumbo shrimp.

The menu includes a Maui vegetable medley and choice of one shareable starch of garlic-fried rice, roasted baby potatoes or creamy mashed potatoes. Want to upgrade?

“The 36-ounce Australian wagyu beef tomahawk steak from the entrees is one of our upgrade options, at $30 per person, and it’s definitely my favorite,” he explains.

A cliff diver leaps at sunset off of Pu‘u Keka‘a, aka “Black Rock,” at Ka‘anapali Beach.

“It’s an impressive cut of meat, and I slice it tableside for the guests. It’s tender and juicy and a great showpiece.”

A glass of full-bodied 14 Hands cabernet sauvignon pairs perfectly with the steak. Or sip on the Kaanapali Lemonade with vodka, Chambord and juices while feasting on the barbecue ribs.

The light and fluffy poi beignets dusted with powdered sugar and served with ice cream and raspberry sauce are a fitting finale to the family feast.

“Chef Chris brings a fresh and creative approach to cuisine at our resort,” says Greg Gaspar, executive chef. “He leads the Black Rock Kitchen culinary direction and his poi beignets are a perfect example — he utilizes a local ingredient like taro in a new, distinct way that’s fun and exciting for our guests. He’s been a great addition to our culinary team and I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.”

Black Rock Kitchen fast facts:

• Where: Located garden level at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali.

• Hours: The restaurant is open from 5:30 to 9 p.m. nightly for dinner and it serves breakfast daily from 6:30 to 11 a.m.

• ‘Ohana Table: One seating is available nightly. You must book 24 hours in advance with the Black Rock sales manager.

• What you get: Choice of one salad, one starter, two entrees and two desserts served family style. The cost is $89 per person, plus tax, tip and beverages.

• Kamaaina deals: Those with valid Hawaii ID get 20 percent off food at Black Rock Kitchen.

• Localicious: Through March, $1 from every ahi poketini appetizer and Kauai prawn entree for a la carte diners will go toward Hawaii Agricultural Foundation.

• For reservations: Call 662-8059 or you may visit www.sheraton-maui.com.