PLANTATION HOUSE

Its famous golf course is being enhanced, yet restaurant still tees off daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour

General Manager Peter Kovacs (left) and Sommelier Claudio Giordano will take you on culinary journeys during their monthly wine dinners coming up in May and June. The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photos

It’s funny how things work on Maui. The Kapalua Bay Course is open for play — but its clubhouse moved to another location on Office Road, and its golf restaurant, the Pineapple Grill, closed.

Up the slopes of the West Maui Mountains overlooking the resort, Kapalua’s legendary Plantation Golf Course is being enhanced, and so the scenic fairways are closed to play, yet the Plantation House restaurant is still open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour daily through it all.

“We have all kinds of things going on,” says General Manager Peter Kovacs, who is an interesting study. “Mondays, kamaaina get 20 percent off. On Tuesday Date Night, couples get two entrees and one bottle of wine for $79.95. On Wednesdays, you may enjoy 50 percent off our sommelier-selected bottles. Thursdays, prime rib sizzles with choices of sides and add-ons. Cocktails are discounted on Fridays and Saturdays. And five-course Hawaii-inspired feasts tempt on Sunday evenings.”

Kovacs has been on Maui since 2004. He was born in Hungary and raised in Ethiopia. His family resettled in Canada and he went to college in Las Vegas. Moving here, his restaurant experience includes jobs at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa and Sea House in Napili Kai resort.

“Troon Golf is the landlord of Plantation and Bay courses,” he says. “The PGA asked them to do much needed enhancement, so they changed bunkers, added new slopes and are importing 50 tons of white sand from Vietnam. They’ve modernized the pro shop during the eight-month renovation. While we’re still open with great nightly features, the Plantation Golf Course is targeted for its relaunch in October.”

Crisp calamari tempts.

Signs are going up soon on Honoapiilani Highway so that people driving by know that Plantation House is still open. Concierges are sending guests there on Sundays for the Hawaiian Night. It’s got an indoor luau feel with a tasting menu and hula dancer to sway the evening along.

The first course is island poke. The second is short rib bao with smashed avocado, spicy mayo, beef demi and namasu pickles. The third course is pan-seared mahimahi with Okinawan sweet potato puree, lomilomi tomatoes, lemongrass butter and togarashi spices. Sink your teeth into the fourth course of Pulehu prime New York steak with local stir-fry vegetables, macadamia-nut rice and soy-ginger sauce. Top it all off with Maui pineapple cake with pineapple-coconut ice cream and compressed fruits.

On the prime rib Thursdays, you may choose the manini cut at 12 ounces or the alii cut at 16 ounces. Pair either one with one side such as roasted garlic potato puree or mac ‘n’ cheese or macadamia nut rice. Add day boat scallops, Kauai prawns or mac-nut crusted Hawaiian mahimahi to make it a surf and turf affair. Sip some fine wines, too. With 10 new cruvinets replacing the former wine cellar, Plantation House still boasts an epic selection.

Upcoming Winemaker Dinners include Ferrari-Carano at 6 p.m. May 10. Situated in Healdsburg, Calif., the winery offers perfect pairings for the four-course feast that will include Chef Eric’s butternut squash tortellini, pork loin and more.

On June 8, Plantation House will welcome Rombauer Vineyards for an exceptional evening of wine and food. Guest hosts are Reagan Rombauer and Winemaker Richie Allen, leading guests on a journey through their portfolio via a sunset reception and four-course dinner.

Butter lettuce salad with chunks of steak and pickled onions makes a refreshing lunch.

“All of our Plantation House wines are temperature controlled and the dinners will feature great wines and great foods,” says Sommelier Giordano, whose family ran Miami restaurants for 35 years.

Plantation House at a glance:

• Up and running: The restaurant and clubhouse remain busy hubs during enhancements to Plantation Golf Course, home of the Sentry Tournament of Champions annual PGA opener in January

• Hours: Open daily. Breakfast and lunch are both served from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Happy hour jumps from 3 to 5 p.m. Dinner is served 5:30 p.m. to closing nightly.

• Promos: Each day of the week offers various temptations from the Tuesday Date Night to the Thursday prime rib feast.

• Wine dinners: Ferrari-Carano is coming up May 10. Cost is $100 for four courses and wines, plus tax and tip. The next winemaker dinner is Rombauer Vineyards on June 8 with four courses and wines. Cost is $185 including tax and tip.

• For reservations: Call Plantation House at 669-6299 or visit www.theplantationhouse.com.