STEAKS ITS REPUTATION. . . When we walked in the door of Ruth's Chris Steak House in the Lahaina Center on a recent visit, never did we expect to find such reasonable prices at this high-end, fine dining restaurant.
But the lounge was jumping with people enjoying happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. as they do nightly with pupu priced from $7 to $9 each.
We devoured oysters Rockefeller, (its salt bed was flamed table-side in a dramatic show). Five juicy Fanny Bays were topped with bacon, creamed spinach, caramelized onion and Hollandaise. Next we dove into the barbecue shrimp, plump and meaty and sauteed New Orleans-style in reduced wine, butter, garlic and spices.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Lahaina offers happy hour pupu at reasonable prices. General Manager Chris Hong and Chef Joey Ramos showcase oysters Rockefeller, fries and barbecue shrimp.
Chef Joey Ramos also wows the crowds with veal Osso Buco ravioli, Angus sliders, seared ahi sashimi, mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat and more. In addition, all soups, salads and desserts are 50 percent off during happy hour. Micro brews and martinis flow.
But since Ruth's Chris stakes its reputation on prime cuts of steak, you may want to indulge in the $39.95 meal with choice of starter, entree, side and dessert. It runs all night in Lahaina and from 5 to 6 p.m. in Wailea. (Sunday through May 29, it will be featured all evening long as part of Wailea Restaurant Week.)
"All of our salads are organic and we use local products from Waipoli greens to Hamakua corn," says Lahaina's General Manager Chris Hong. "We broil the USDA prime aged and cured steaks in an 1,800-degree oven and garnish with butter and parsley."
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UNCORKING ANOTHER. . . It's hard to believe that the 29th annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival will be uncorked June 24 to 27 at Kapalua Resort, and the theme is still as fresh as it gets.
The summer soiree theme will highlight Hawaii Regional Cuisine instead of the foods of New Orleans, that kicked up sultry tastes last year.
To shake things up further, events will switch locations. The Grand Tasting June 25 will move up the hill to The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua's Aloha Pavilion. The Kapalua Seafood Festival will turn into an oceanfront affair June 27 at the hotel's Beach House Lawn, complete with 13 top Maui chefs and cutting-edge wines.
This year's headliner chef is D.K. Kodama of Sansei Seafood & Sushi Bar fame. He'll entice attendees with a luncheon and cooking demo June 27 called "D.K.'s Secrets: Sansei Style."
Four-day kamaaina festival passes are $599. A la carte kamaaina tickets to the Grand Tasting, the Kapalua Seafood Festival and D.K.'s Secrets cost $120 each. Call 669-9160 or visit www.kapalua.com. But hurry, these prices will be yanked in mid-June.
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BITS AND PIECES. . . Coffee lovers should note the first Starbucks store in the Wailea resort area will have a soft opening Wednesday. The grand opening is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. June 7 with politicians and VIPs, and the public is invited join in the fun.
It will be located just off the lobby of the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Those needing their morning joe should note there will be complimentary 15-minute parking in the designated area. Hours will be from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily with drinks and baked goods.
Enjoy a six-course repast cooked by rising star chefs at Roy's Kahana at 7 p.m. Saturday. Courses such as Kona cold water lobster corn chowders, crispy-skin moi filet and dou of Maui Cattle Co. beef will be created by sous chefs Nolan West and Jason Cruz. Cost is $69 per person, plus tax and tip. Call 669-6999.
* You may reach Dining Editor Carla Tracy by calling 242-6342 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.