Chef DK Kodama is one of Hawaii's most prolific restaurateurs with eight, count 'em, restaurants on three islands under his belt.
On Maui, the restaurants include Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bars in Kapalua and Kihei as well as Fish & Pasta in Kaanapali.
"We started with Cane & Taro, but diners were not getting the name, so we rebranded it Fish & Pasta," says Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya, DK's partner in the business.
Corporate Executive Sushi Chef Masa Hattori (left), and Sansei Kapalua’s Executive Chef Micah Honma at a tasting of CF wines made by Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"We moved Chef Ivan Pahk there, and he's now making his own bread, fennel sausage, tomato sauces and pastas," Furuya continues."He's really blossomed and he makes Ligurian pasta that is rolled like a cigar, and another one like little Veneto pillows stuffed with housemade ricotta."
Pahk, named Chef of the Year in several contests, also does nightly specials, including one Tuscany night a month in which diners may bring in their own bottle of wine.
Fish & Pasta is situated oceanfront between Hula Grill and Leilani's at Whalers Village Fine Shops & Restaurants. Call 662-0668.
Sansei Kapalua is located on Office Road above Honolua Store. It looks like a modern Japanese house with slate floors, shingle roofing, white lanterns and dark woods. Bamboo accents and rich colors such as butterscotch and sage add tastful decorating touches in the main dining room.
An article in Wine Spectator said Sansei boasts "Endless innovation with a strong Japanese accent." Bon Appetit named the restaurant one of "America's Best Sushi Bars."
Bring your appetites for the sushi chefs' signature panko-crusted ahi roll, and the Kapalua butterfly roll, a colorful delight packed with salmon, crab, shiromi, and fresh vegetables.
Of course, dungeness crab ramen in Asian truffle broth is as aromatic as it gets; and Asian shrimp cake in ginger-lime butter and cilantro pesto, a delicacy encased in crispy Chinese noodles, was a multiple first place winner at Taste of Lahaina.
Known as the "home of the other red meat: ahi," Sansei Kapalua is now on a roll with much more on the nightly menu.
"We're doing new vegan and vegetarian dishes so that we appeal to a wider spectrum of people," says Furuya, who offers his CF wines at Sansei along with hot and cold sake, imported Japanese and other bottled beer and martinis.
Late-night karaoke and dining is all the rage on Thursdays and Fridays, and locals pack the house. It's the place to see and be seen.
At Sansei Kihei, there will be a five-course wine pairing dinner at 7 p.m. July 16, with selections hand picked by Ed Mikesh of Wailea Wine. Cost is $49 per person, plus tax and tip. For more details, call Kihei at 879-0004 or Kapalua at 669-6286.