The Mexican sushi with cheese and jalapenos seemed so wrong, but it was so right. Spicy tuna was layered with the above-mentioned items along with avocado and chipotle aioli, giving it a nice kick.
The ocean salad, packed with fresh seaweeds and topped with fresh crab and crunchy cucumbers, popped with taste. So did the Tokyo Rock 'n' Roll with tempura shrimp, crab, and fried hamachi.
We're talking about the food at 5 Palms Lahaina, which transformed from Canoes last summer to bear the same name as its sister restaurant in Kihei.
Standing under a koa turtle, one of the restaurant’s many ocean artworks, are 5 Palms Lahaina’s General Manager Jaison Marconyak (from left), server Kristi Ringis and Executive Chef Misao Masuda.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
These days, there's a new executive chef, Misao Masuda, who cooked at Leilani's and the former Hakone; and new General Manager Jaison Marconyak, from stellar restaurants such as Sarento's on the Beach.
These two make a dynamic team running the Polynesian longhouse of a restaurant. With more koa wood and North American redwood than just about any other building on Maui, along with the incredible ocean views, it offers a great experience.
"We're open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner," says Marconyak. "Breakfast is really built for us. The mornings are really nice and cool here in Lahaina and the views are fantastic."
Choose from breakfast or lunch items all day long from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. That means, if you want to wake up to a grilled Black Angus burger or a lobster BLT, no problem. Or, if you'd prefer to sleep in and saunter down after noon for an eye-opening Bloody Mary and crab cake Benedict, that's a given, too. Lunch items also include baby spinach and Romaine hearts salads, crispy calamari strips, curried chicken salad and Maui cheese steaks.
Two happy hours daily bring in the diners from boating and other activities and it's casual and fun. Choose from the earlier happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m.; or the late-night happy hour from 9 to 11 p.m.
"Early happy hour is half-off the lounge menu and select sushi," says Marconyak. "And the late night happy hour is half-off the entire sushi menu. Both happy hours include great drink specials."
There used to be live music. "As of now, we do not have entertainment; however we are looking to move into lounge entertainment for the happy hours," he adds.
Of course, 5 Palms Lahaina dishes up one of the best sunsets on Front Street.
"Dinner runs daily from 5 to 9 p.m. and we offer a sunset special until 6 p.m. for $26.95 per person," Marconyak says. "It consists of a three-course meal with a salad of local mixed greens, followed by an entree choice of ginger chicken, mac-nut-crusted catch, or prime rib. The meal ends with lilikoi cheesecake."
At dinner or happy hour, a must-try pupu for meat lovers is the Chinese-style ribs, marinated in spicy Asian barbecue sauce and served with pineapple salsa. They are fall-off-the bone tender.
Tomato-and-sweet-basil bisque will appeal to vegetarians among us, as will the Kula salad with Upcountry mixed greens, sliced tomatoes, avocado and almonds, drizzled in passion fruit-miso dressing.
As for signature dishes, "Chef Misao is excited about the rack of lamb," says Marconyak. "It is marinated, grilled, then sauced with a miso blue cheese sauce. Also, the whole snapper entree is a winner. It's wok-fried with coconut curry sauce, vegetables and a duo of rice. Guests are also raving about the Cajun seared diver scallops, yuzu glazed with warm spinach and mushrooms."
For reservations or more details, call 5 Palms Lahaina at 661-0937.