OODLES of new menu items by new Star Noodle chef
Slurp away in popular local, yet urbane, Lahaina eatery with Asian pastas, share plates, fun cocktails, desserts
Star Noodle has been a powerhouse of an eatery ever since it opened seven years ago at the top of Lahaina Industrial Park. The building alone was five years in the making and it’s got a 3,500-square-foot kitchen that is the commissary for its sister restaurants Old Lahaina Lu’au, Aloha Mixed Plate and Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop — all in the Na Hoaloha Ekolu group.
Star Noodle’s first chef got catapulted into national acclaim on “Top Chef” and now it’s got a new chef sure to keep the famous eatery at the top of its game.
A native of Queens, N.Y., Executive Chef Abby Ferrer has taught at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and cooked for Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto in both his Miami and Wailea restaurants.
But her love of cooking goes to childhood days, when her grandmother ran a restaurant in the Philippines and she spent four years living in Hong Kong, both influencing her culinary repertoire.
“I’ve also cooked contemporary American cuisine and Italian food for five years at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas,” Ferrer explains. “I love Mediterranean flavors, but it’s also natural for me to reach for the soy sauce and patis, which is normal in Hawaii and also the flavors I grew up with.”
One of the new dishes she’s created is the Hoaloha Farms taro dumplings made with taro grown at the company’s 200-acre farm in Waikapu.
The plump dumplings are filled with ele ele makoko (a type of taro), carrots, shiitake mushrooms, napa cabbage, garlic, ginger, onion, tofu, shiro-shoyu vinaigrette, sesame chili oil and watermelon radish, served with taro chips. The delectable dumplings are crazy good, getting rave reviews.
“This is one of the dishes we are presenting at the Maui Calls event on August 18,” she says. “It showcases one of the 28 varieties of taro that are currently being grown at our Hoaloha Farms.”
Another new dish of Ferrer’s is the chilled crab Mazemen with ika, or squid, flavored ramen noodles, crab, yuzu-koshu seasoning, bok choy, bacon, taro, ikura, or fish roe, green onions and crispy shallots.
“All our wheat-based noodles are made in house at Star Noodle. One day I noticed that Lori, one of our noodle makers, had made a beautiful squid-ink ramen,” Ferrer says. “I’m originally from New York, and summertime meant road trips to Maryland for blue crab. I imagined sweet white morsels of crabmeat with the bright orange saltiness of the ikura and spice of the yuzu koshu to be balanced with the fatty creaminess of the bacon and the taro. Chilled, it’s a great summertime dish for seafood noodle lovers. This is the second dish we will be presenting at the Maui Calls benefit.”
Ferrer’s crispy pig ears are sliced thin like French fries, perfect as a pupu with a cold cocktail or beer. They’re spicy with jalapeno slices and calamansi aioli.
“We have a great cocktail list, and if you find yourself at the bar, this pupu is my own version of ‘fries’ inspired by the Filipino chicharon I grew up with.”
Her new veggie ramen can become vegan if ordered with rice noodles. It is also flying out the door as a new “must try.”
“I’m defiantly a carnivore, but I wanted to make a vegetarian broth base for our guests who wanted something less meaty but had great flavor so they could enjoy our house made noodles, too,” she shares.
A few years ago, Star Noodle began to take reservations for six or more people. But now, even couples may make them for date night and business people may reserve a lunch spot for two.
Sales of the famous Vietnamese crepes and Hapa ramen have also picked up since Star Noodle was featured on “Diners, Drive- Ins and Dives” TV show with Guy Fieri awhile back.
The crepes are filled with shrimp, pork and nuac-cham sauce, wrapped with mint and basil leaves in lettuce and dipped. The ramen is a rich pork broth with roasted pork, soft-boiled egg, choi sum, bamboo shoots, kamaboko and more.
Other signature favorites are the Brussels sprouts, the garlic noodles and the broiled miso salmon.
“At Star Noodle, I want to bring leadership and support to our culinary team, who have been doing so much awesome work,” Ferrer concludes. “This restaurant has an amazing standing in the community and such heart. I just want to contribute to what it’s all about — to put out good food, to push forward with new menu items and to be a part of the great legacy.”
Star Noodle at a glance:
• When: Open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily for lunch and dinner services.
• Where: At the top of Lahaina Industrial Park at 286 Kupuohi St., in Lahaina.
• The vibe: Casual and fun and local yet urbane. Communal table seats 18; bar seats 12; other tables, too. The airy interior offers views and boasts repurposed teak, stone and other natural materials.
• New items: Hoaloha Farms taro dumplings; chilled crab Mazeman; crispy pig ears and veggie ramen.
• How much: Share plates from $4 to market price; noodles from $8 to $13; sweets from $5 to $7; and cocktails, $12; wines by the glass, $11; and beers, $5 to $10.
• The players: Abby Ferrer is new executive chef; Nicky Boskoff Dahlberg is general manager.
• For reservations: Call 667-5400 or visit www.starnoodle.com.