UNO, DOS, TRES. . . There's a tiny restaurant in Kihei that just opened - and gossip is already swirling like the lambada in a spirited dance class.
Located in Kihei a few doors down the mall from Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Cuatro is casual and comfy, serving an intriguing Latino and Pacific Rim fusion fare menu.
Chef-owner Eric Arbogast is a familiar fixture in Maui County. I first met him when he ran the kitchens of Kaluakoi Resort on Molokai and in recent years, he's been with Sansei. In fact, D.K. Kodama of that famous restaurant franchise is partners with Eric in this new venture.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Famous Chef D.K. Kodama (left) flew in for the Kihei opening of Cuatro to cheer on his partner, Chef-owner Eric Arbogast (right) and Eric’s wife, Trish. Get ready to spice things up with their Latino-Asian fusion fare.
Dive into roast pork empanadas; calamari with remoulade; and roasted chicken breast stuffed with green chilies, ham and pepper jack cheese, served with mashed potatoes, southwestern butter sauce and grilled house vegetables.
Or opt for Asian marinated grilled steak with green chimichurri sauce, or maybe the togarashi seared ahi in basil beurre blanc and balsamic syrup.
"We anticipate getting our liquor license sometime in June," D.K. said, when he flew in from Oahu for the small opening party last week. "Then we'll do margaritas and mojitos and mai tais."
We hear the "boys" will fly to Kogi Latin Korean fusion restaurant in Los Angeles to check it out and to give their menu more tweaks. As for D.K.'s upcoming Cane & Taro in Kaanapali, it's been delayed even further with construction and it should open this summer. That makes, count 'em, 11 restaurants under his belt in all.
Much to the delight of Central Mauians, Fiesta Time reopened its doors on Lower Main Street. Former owner Raul Jaimes has retired, but he still owns the building and the recipes are the same, according to the new owner.
Too bad E&W Drive In didn't make it in that location, because I sure loved the Monte Cristo sandwich. . . . Yet Rosa's Cantina is still tempting customers on Market Street in Wailuku with its Mexican fare.
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BITS AND PIECES . . . Looking for someplace romantic to take your squeeze for dinner? Thursday is "date night" at the Melting Pot in Lahaina.
You'll get exclusive seating in the Lover's Lounge and Lover's Lane areas of the expansive restaurant as well as a special menu, a glass of champagne, Maui Brewery Co. beer and more. In addition, the next Girls Night Out event is Tuesday, featuring trendy fashions and treats.
The Maui Culinary Academy will be the beneficiary of an event Friday evening to be held in its Pa'ina Building at the Maui Community College Campus in Kahului. The 2009 Aipono Awards will highlight a formal dinner. This year's theme is "support our chefs" and participating industry peers will vote for their favorite.
The new Green Banana Cafe in Paia keeps the topics hot with weekly talk story sessions from 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays. Coming up is the Talk Story with Claire Kellerman about how to grow your own sustainable and organic garden.
New drink offerings include the Sharks Blood Smoothie packed with pomegranate and cranberry; and the banana split latte with Maui sweet bee honey.
Rusty Harpoon in Kaanapali is running with a stimulus plan that offers 50 percent off of the whole menu from 6 to 7 each evening. "Your pennies are worth double here for one hour," says Rusty's Chef-owner Suzzette Metcalfe.
In addition, Suzzette says you may book your graduation parties now - with either the whole venue or in the private room for smaller functions.
"We can accommodate all of your needs," she continues.
* Reach Carla Tracy at 242-6342 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.