When Merriman's Kapalua opened in June as the latest venture by famous Hawaii Regional Cuisine Chef Peter Merriman, everyone checked it out during dinner.
Now, there are other reasons to go to this West Maui hot spot, as it continues energizing itself and evolving. For instance, the area that used to be a swimming pool when the restaurant was The Bay Club is now all decking with large jardinieres and teak tables. The views are incredible of the ocean and the neighbor islands.
"Champagne Point is becoming really popular," says Peter. "On Friday nights we have a champagne tasting, and every full moon we have a wine tasting. But we are open every night for sunset, and our special drink, Phil's Number Five, available only at the point, is really fun."
Champagne Point is fast becoming the talk of Kapalua. Situated on the tip of the black-lava peninsula fronting Merriman’s, it offers panoramic views, a fire pit and cocktails.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Hang out and get in the groove with wines as well. Merriman's even boasts a sommelier.
"We have over 200 selections with 2,300 bottles in our cellar," says Peter. "Jason 'Cass' Castle, our sommelier, favors organic and bio-dynamic wines. He has an incredible passion for wines, and is building a large following among the wine crowd."
The inside bar is quite popular, too, for both lunch as well as dinner. The views go on forever.
"Our bartenders love to show off. From the house-made ginger ale to margaritas with cilantro and the fresh-squeezed juices, there is always something to discover."
Since Peter is a partner in Hula Grill in Kaanapali and owns two Merriman's on the Big Island (with plans to open two more on Kauai), he is a very busy man. So acclaimed Chef George Gomes Jr. runs the Kapalua kitchen.
"George Gomes brings his island heritage and wealth of experience to our kitchen," says Peter. "This is reflected in the house-made Portuguese sausage and bacon that George learned from his father in Ahualoa. His fine-dining experience is evident on the menu and through the use of nightly locally raised lamb special, fish specials and more."
Fast becoming a signature entree is butter-poached Keahole lobster served with Kula sweet corn souffle, Hamakua mushrooms with tarragon-scented corn jus. Can't decide what to order? Try the mixed plate with wild line-caught mahimahi, Maui Cattle Co., beef filet and wok-charred ahi. In addition, entrees are served in small or full portions.
And make sure to save room for dessert as there is a pastry chef in house.
"Josiah Huelle, is a Castle High School graduate, who left Hawaii to gain pastry experience on the Mainland for over six years. He was in Miami just before joining us, and brings a great deal of understanding of tropical fruits, and various South American culinary techniques."
These include lilikoi mousse and coconut creme brulee.
For Merriman's Kapalua reservations, call 669-6400.