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Japengo celebrates 1st anniversary at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa
January 16, 2012 - Carla Tracy
The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali celebrated the first birthday of its popular signature restaurant, Japengo, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday.
The hotel pegged it as a “Year of the Dragon” party with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Maui’s annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk.
When guests walked through the expansive oceanfront restaurant, they were treated to two ice sculptures in the shapes of dragons in addition to menu highlights such as mini crab and shrimp cakes; crispy ahi-poke rolls; grilled local mahimahi, cashew-crusted chicken, sushi rolls and an elaborate display of desserts.
Wines, beer and sake flowed and Kelly Covington and her band got the crowd up and dancing on the patio. Some even won raffle prizes such as sushi rolling classes by Japengo’s expert sushi chef, Jay Ledee.
There was a sea of local Maui residents in the crowd, a testament that Japengo is coveted by those who know their sushi. We spotted Kimo Falconer of Kaanapali Coffee, Jennifer Nguyen of A Saigon Cafe., Teryl Vencl of Maui Visitors Bureau, and Dr. Gaylen Wiger of Kaiser, who was celebrating his birthday with his wife, flo wiger, and pals. Flo is the former provost of what was then called Maui Community College.
Situated in the former Cascades on a bluff overlooking the ocean, Japengo was infused with a $5 million face-lift before it opened to the public last January. The Pacific Rim cuisine is inspiring, and there is a high level of service as well as Hawaiian hospitality. The hotel’s General Manager Michael Jokovich and his culinary team of Executive Chef Matt Smith and Director of Food and Beverage Peter Donnelly have created a real winner, folks.
For more information, call the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa at 661-1234 or visit Hyatt Maui’s Website.
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Executive Chef Matt Smith gives the shaka in front of the dragon sculptures.