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March 27, 2008
By CARLA TRACY, Dining Editor
Dining Editor Carla Tracy is on leave. Her dining features and column will return May 1. In the meantime, the Dining Scene contact is Rich Van Scoy. Call him at 242-6323 or e-mail

NEW STEAK AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT IN KAHULUI . . . Lucky for Maui steak and seafood lovers, the Coconut Grill opened at the Seaside Hotel in Kahului on St. Patrick’s Day. The hotel is located across from the intersection of Lono and Kaahumanu Avenues.

“We’re trying to bring back the old Hawaii relaxed steak house,” said Candy Mattos, who along with husband, Mark Mattos, own and operate the establishment.

“At a lot of restaurants today it’s all about turning tables,” said Candy. “We want it to be relaxed and affordable.”

“We really are for the local community,” added Mark. “It’s relaxed and casual; not real formal.”

Candy and Mark bring an excellent track record to the Seaside Hotel. Their Coconut Grill restaurant at the Seaside Hotel in Hilo was voted best restaurant in East Hawaii by readers of the Hawaii Tribune Herald, said Mark.

The “old Hawaii” style of Coconut Grill is inspired by Candy and Mark’s personal experiences growing up in Hawaii. Candy is a Maui girl, happy to return to her birthplace and Mark is from Kailua, Oahu.

“It’s real family oriented,” explained Candy. In addition to a 14-foot salad bar, the restaurant hand-cuts meats and features fresh seafood. “We serve certified, Black Angus beef,” said Candy.

Coconut Grill is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The main dining room can seat 90 people and a semi-private dining room can accommodate 40. A private dining room that can seat 60 people will be added at a future date, according to Candy.

“The salad bar or soup are included with meals,” said Mark. “We have a creative menu.”

The Hilo restaurant is known for its prime rib and that continues at the new Maui restaurant.

Coconut Grill dinner items include panko-crusted Dungeness crab cakes with cucumber namasu and wasabi buerre blanc; a chef’s special preparation of red or white fresh fish; and slow-roasted certified Angus prime rib of beef with pan aujus, horseradish sauce and stuffed potato.

Breakfast is served from 6 to 11 a.m. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and dinner is served from 4 p.m. to closing.

“Our last dinner seating is at 8:30 p.m.,” said Candy.

For more information, or to make reservations, call 871-8881.


WINE VERSUS BEER . . . Five wines and five beers will be paired with five cheeses when Who Cut the Cheese hosts a “Wine versus Beer” tasting at Stella Blues Cafe Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. It is part of the store’s monthly tasting series. The cost is $30 per person, including tax. For reservations, call 874-3930. Both Stella Blues and Who Cut the Cheese are located in the Azeka Shopping Center (Mauka) in Kihei.


WHY CHANGE A GOOD THING? . . . When retired Silicon Valley engineer Howie Grunes purchased “Life’s A Beach” in Kihei at the beginning of the year, he didn’t see any reason to change the menu.

“It already had a very good, authentic Mexican kitchen,” said Howie of the restaurant/bar that has become a landmark on South Kihei Road after 10 continuous years of operation by former owner Vickki LeBeau.

Located across the street from Kalama Park with open lanai seating, sunset views and live entertainment, Life’s A Beach is a popular gathering place for both residents and visitors.

All of the recipes were created by Head Cook Emilia Ramirez.

“Everything is fresh, from scratch,” said Howie. “We fry our own chips, all meats are cut in the restaurant, we cook all our own beans . . . The most popular items are the nachos and burritos.

“We also have food for the ‘gringos,’ like burgers, fries and onion rings,” Howie added.

Live entertainment from 3 to 7 p.m. every day and most nights from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. is also continuing with Kanoa on Mondays, The Crunch Pups on Wednesdays and Rampage on Thursdays.

Life’s A Beach opens daily at 11 a.m.


COOKIN’ AT THE MACC . . . The rich cultural theme the LooChoo nu Kwa Okinawan music and dance presentation Friday at Castle Theater will be preceded by dinner items selected by the Okinawan Cultural Society. The menu, available from 5 p.m. in theYokouchi Founders’ Court, will include “champuru,” a vegetarian stir-fry; “rafute” Okinawan shoyu pork; a combination plate of the above; and “andagi” Okinawan donuts for dessert.

The ethnic menu is a thoughtful addition preceding a production aimed at awakening the desire for finding one’s cultural identity and the need for preserving things of the past.

Comedian Andy Bumatai is sure to evoke some good belly laughs among the audience when he takes the stage at the McCoy Studio Saturday. Bellys will also be satisfied when Penne Pasta Cafe serves dinner selections in the McCoy Courtyard from 5:30 p.m. Items will include Penne Pasta Pomodoro with salad and chicken parmesan with pasta and salad.

Gates will open at 5 p.m. Sunday before Sean Kingston and special guest Collie Buddz take the stage beginning at 6 p.m.

Catering will be provided by Serpico’s with hot dogs, pizza by the slice, spinach salad, pasta marinara and chicken parmesan.

Alexander’s Fish and Chips will also be serving a variety of items, including Cajun grilled veggies, pineapple teri chicken, Cajun grilled mahimahi and warm mango cobbler.

Ono Gelato and Maui Kazowie Kettlecorn will also be selling their special brand of treats.


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