When you walk in the door at DUO, it's hard to miss the seafood display. Ceviches, pokes and prawns all glisten on ice in giant metal buckets. Oysters are shucked fresh to order by cute and friendly Raw Bartenders, who are also chefs.
We're talking about the new Raw Bar that is stopping people in their tracks near DUO's entrance Thursdays to Saturdays. The best part is, you may order the raw seafood a la carte as an appetizer before your meal or go for the gusto and dive into the all-you-can-eat Endless Catch.
"It's unreal. The Raw Bar is really taking off. A lot of locals are finding out about it and checking us out," says Executive Sous Chef Samuel Faggetti.
Seafood lovers may dive into as-fresh-as-it-gets Alaskan king crab, five types of oysters, Markea prawns from New Caledonia, Kona lobster and more.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"Right now, we have five different oysters including Kusshi, Maple Point, Kumamoto, Belon and Fanny Bay. East Coast oysters are sweeter and brinier, while I find the West Coast oysters to be saltier. We rotate them as oysters are seasonal."
Sauces are gourmet to the max. You may top your oysters with traditional mignonette or tart green-apple mignonette. You'll also find kim-chee aioli, ponzu-and-lime sauce, and Tabasco lemon. The brandy aioli is out of this world.
Since this is the Four Seasons, of course, there is no "wall of shame" for people who eat too much. "The record for oysters eaten by one person was 48," says Raw Bartender Mike Termini, who was featured on the "Hell's Kitchen" TV show. "We also had several gentlemen who were able to pound down 36 oysters each."
* So fresh: The Raw Bar is served Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The regular DUO menu is served nightly.
* Endless Catch: This is the way to go! You get all you can eat of the Raw Bar with hand-cut French fries with truffle aioli and small Caesar salad or French onion soup for $60. Freshly baked bread and butter will also be brought to your table.
* A la carte prices: From $16 for ceviche to $20 for half dozen oysters to $22 for Kona lobster tail.
* Wine list: Super user-friendly and perfect with seafood. Choose wines by the glass or the bottle in categories such as bubbly bubbles, pink stuff or white stuff.
* What else: DUO's regular menu features frothy martinis in colorful designer glasses; thick, prime and well- marbled steaks; sides such as sweet Kula corn and blue-cheese creamed spinach; and sauces from Bernaise to green peppercorn. Do try the cotton candy, a signature dessert; or the rich chocolate souffle.
* For reservations: Call the Four Seasons Resort Maui at 874-8000.
Two different types of ceviches are piled high. The evening we dined there, we were dazzled by an onaga and mahi mix as well as scallops Peruvian style.
"Everything is flown in fresh," says DUO Restaurant Chef Chris Galicinal. "I want to say that some of our items are gently cooked and then chilled, such as the tako or octopus, lobsters and prawns.
"We call it a 'raw bar,' as people recognize it when you say it. The majority of our items are raw. We like to switch things up because some people come in three nights in a row and want a variety."
Those who choose the a la carte route and order a hot dinner at DUO after will find all manner of tempting entrees. Choose from crispy island snapper, to grilled mahimahi in red curry ginger sauce, to togarashi seared ahi in miso beurre blanc.
Meat lovers may sink their teeth into veal chops, prime rib, Muscovy duck, venison, elk and prime steaks, all cooked to perfection. Sauces and sides abound.
New Restaurant Manager Cecil Kepner has a passion for guest relations and will charm you with his knowledge from top culinary establishments on both coasts.
"I invite you to experience our enhanced menu and the generous offering of fresh seafood at our new raw bar," he says.