The 20-foot-tall Cook Island Pine is decorated to the nines in the Great Hall. Giant wreaths and colorful stockings adorn both of the massive stone fireplaces. It's beginning to look a lot like the holidays at Four Seasons Resorts Lana'i's Lodge at Koele.
"There's nothing like the holidays here," says Executive Chef Fabrice Huet, a fifth-generation chef from Paris. "The regulars just keep coming back. They love the hot chocolate service, the live music."
At an elevation of 1,700 feet, the Lodge is cool at this time of year. Wild turkeys roam the property and the Terrace restaurant offers sweeping views of the reflecting pond, the pagoda and the gracious gardens.
Four Seasons Resort Lana‘i’s Executive Chef Fabrice Huet will present festive holiday dining offerings at all of his restaurant outlets. Kamaaina room rates are still good through Saturday.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"We will present our Christmas dinner at the Terrace in the same fashion as last year," says the chef. "Family style. The food will come on large platters with many choices. Dessert will be rolled to your table on a cart. You may pick and choose what you like."
Highlights will include roasted pumpkin soup with creme fraiche and roasted pumpkin seeds, traditional turkey with sausage stuffing and cranberry sauce, leg of lamb in herb crust with poha berry jus, prime rib with Yorkshire pudding and sauteed brussels sprouts.
Huet is also in charge of Four Seasons Resorts Lana'i at Manele Bay, its oceanfront sister property. Starting next Wednesday, the Ihilani lounge that's used for banquets will open as a steakhouse and remain so through the high season. "We'll use all prime aged meats, all high-grade cuts.We'll age the meat in house. The focus will be on the quality of the product. It will kind of be like DUO Steak and Seafood at Four Seasons Resort Maui."
From the grill will come bone-in rib eyes, Kurobuta pork chops, New York steaks, free-range veal chops and Colorado double lamb chops. From the ocean, fish lovers will find whole moi and Thai snapper as well a big-eye ahi tuna, diver scallops and salmon.
"We'll do all of the temperatures right," says the chef, who speaks fluent French, Spanish, Korean and Mandarin as well as English. He's also been a chef in Barcelona, Shanghai, Seoul, Osaka and San Francisco. "We'll have appetizers, small plates, sides and sauces."
Appetizers include shucked oysters, escargot, coconut seafood chowder, and you may savor small plates of blue crab, pork belly, grilled tako, even lobster corn dogs. For dessert lovers, Huet has recently snagged a heavy-hitter of a pastry chef, Ravii Saber, who was in charge of banquets at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Manele Bay's Ocean Grill is also on a roll with its fish and seafood concept. These world-class chefs do justice to the freshest of dishes such as steamed onaga with lilikoi-wasabi sauce in this al fresco and oceanfront setting.
On Sunday, Dec. 26, from 5 to 9 p.m., Ocean Grill will set the stage with its Hawaiian seafood buffet. Dive into the steamed snow crab claws and Alaskan crab legs, Pad Thai noodles, ahi poke, California rolls, steamed clams, grilled mahimahi and much more.
"Manele's Hulopo'e restaurant is doing really well with its new classic Italian menu," says Huet. "Chef de Cuisine Alex Capello is doing a great job. He'll present a Christmas Day buffet there."
New Year's Eve, reservations are not required to attend the celebration at the resort's Kailani Terrace from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. with a 12-piece band, fireworks display and cash bar. Those who wish to dine may reserve at seat Hulopo'e Court, Ocean Grill or Ocean Hale. "During high season, it's really festive. There is no better place to be," says Huet.
For reservations, call (800)-321-4666.