At first, I was sad to hear that the Seafood Buffet was cancelled last month at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.
Then I heard about the launch of the new a la carte grill and steakhouse menu that now takes its place in its former spot at the resort's The Terrace restaurant.
It's served Sundays and Mondays only from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and the result is sure to please diners.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
“Diners will enjoy the spectacle of a made-to-order flambé and soufflé dessert action station which is complimentary with the purchase of an entrée,” says The Terrace’s Chef de Cuisine Dennis Ya-Cua.
"Our guests seem to be like an endangered species these days," says Jun Sur, acting food and beverage director of the glamorous resort in West Maui. "So we want to give diners an added value. Basically, with the purchase of your main entree, you get two sides and a trip to the dessert station with souffles and flambes."
So for the price of, say, Mongolian pork chops with hoisin jus for $31, each person gets two sides such as the whipped truffle potatoes and the ginger asparagus. They are akin to Ruth's Chris accompaniments, but ritzy. The price also includes French-pressed Kona coffee and gourmet desserts such as cherries Jubilee and chocolate souffle with creme Anglaise.
While the Terrace is also open mornings serving its plantation buffet, "by evening it transforms into a candlelit room that is both relaxing and inviting," says Manager Briane "Bre" Smith.
"From the warmth of the yellow that's all around you to the smell of the homemade flambe and souffle, this dining experience immerses you like no other."
The starters, salads and soups are made from ingredients plucked from Maui farms and grown on island ranches.
"We feature over 20 different local farms and ranches in our menu, as well as our own Ritz-Carlton herb and vegetable gardens and fruit orchard," says The Terrace's Chef de Cuisine Dennis Ya-Cua.
Luxuriate in house-made bufala mozzarella salad with Olowalu tomato and prosciutto. Savor braised short-rib pot stickers with beets and horseradish. And, sip smoked tomato bisque, served with creamy and crunchy chewer asparagus toast.
"Our culinary mission is to make everything in house, so the freshness and quality of local products, paired with the creativity of the chefs, allows us to do this," Chef Ya-Cua says. "From salad dressings, soups and sauces to our smoked salmon, Maui onion rings and fresh mozzarella, we continue to strive to create value for our guests while we focus on sustainability and reducing our food miles."
All entrees come from mauka (the land) and makai (the sea) and each lists an optional wine pairing.
For instance, the gorgonzola filet mignon with Maui onion Bordelaise is recommended to go with the Honig cabernet sauvignon; and the annatto-glazed Colorado lamb with port wine jus is paired very nicely with the Calix syrah.
"Our steak house features USDA-certified Black Angus ribeye, New York strip and the filet mignon," says Chef Ya-Cua.
On the makai side of the menu, you will find the cilantro-and-macadamia-nut-crusted mahimahi in lemongrass butter; and the Kona kampachi in parchment paper served with tomato fondue.
"The hapu'u is also one of our favorites," says Executive Sous Chef Marc McDowell. "And when snapper is running, we like to buy and prepare that."
Side dishes include wild mushroom orzo, haricot vert, five-cheese macaroni gratin, and almond broccolini.
"Our new menu also features innovative vegetarian selections and includes gluten-free options," Ya-Cua says.
Vegetarian entrees range from $14 to $19 and include tofu and watercress salad; and whole-wheat linguine with broccolini, roast garlic and grilled vegetables all ladled with tomato-vodka sauce.
But the yummiest part of all is the dessert action station and you may come to the Ritz and order it independently of dinner for $15 per person with coffee. Pastry Chef Ashley Nakano rotates souffle flavors from Grand Marnier to chocolate.
"We are offering the west side of Maui a real treat," says The Terrace's manager, Smith. "There is something on the menu for everyone."
For more details, call 669-6200.