It's a deal and a half. A feast for the senses. That's why the chef requests you savor it along with your date and/or with your entire table of family and friends.
In a nutshell, Pineapple Grill at Kapalua will celebrate its seventh anniversary with a seven-course tasting menu for $77 per person, plus tax and tip. And, what a farm-to-table experience it will be.
The special will run for dinner for one week only from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Aug. 2 and it will all be prepared by the award-winning restaurant's new Executive Chef Isaac Bancaco.
Executive Chef Isaac Bancaco with Managing Partner Chris Kaiwi at a table overlooking tennis courts at Kapalua.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"With Isaac aboard, we are taking the cuisine of Pineapple Grill to the next level," says Managing Partner Chris Kaiwi. "It's exciting, refined, sustainable, creative and he's really passionate about local products."
Last year, Bancaco was named one of the "Top Young Chefs to Watch" in Hawaii and was recognized as a "Future Face of Hawaii Tourism."
Born and raised on Maui, the young chef attended the Western Culinary Institute (now called Le Cordon Bleu) in Portland, Ore., and he has appeared on "Iron Chef" with James Beard winner Ming Tsai.
Anniversary special: Get seven courses for $77 per person, plus tax, tip and beverages Friday to Aug. 2 during dinner.
Other highlights: Breakfast and lunch are served continuously from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, and happy hour is 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.
For reservations: Call (808) 669-9600.
He's also cooked for Tsai at the master chef's Blue Ginger in Boston, cooked in Los Angeles for another James Beard award winner, Roy Yamaguchi. But he most recently kicked up his chef reputation a notch with his innovative localvore menu at the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a island restaurant at the Grand Wailea.
"Eighty percent of our menu here is local," says Bancaco. "I like to utilize a lot of produce out of the regular box, use some different produce from, say, coconuts, you know, the usual stuff. I think these unique items are what sets us apart from what others are doing.
"From a guest's perspective, they don't want to eat the same ol' asparagus and mashed potatoes every day of their vacations."
So in the seven-course anniversary menu, Bancaco will dazzle them with the first course of white Kula corn and shiro miso bisque, hand ladled in the bowl at the table over steamed Keohole lobster shumai.
I was delighted to try the second course in his feast on a recent visit and it just popped in taste and presentation. It was Ho Farms baby tomato Caprese salad with macadamia nut bocconcini, li-hing mui pickled radishes, Ho'opono Farms arugula and opal-basil granite - all drizzled with Maui Olive Co.'s extra virgin oil.
"Jamie Woodburn planted about 1,000 trees with Don Nelson upcountry and within a year, they'll be producing 100 percent Maui olive oil," says Kaiwi. "I told Isaac, let's go ahead and put the names of the farms and the farmers on our dinner menu."
The new menu program is called Farmers of the Islands.
"Our chef keeps talking about all of the farms he's toured and his connections with farmers, and obviously, he's very proud of his relationships. So on his next excursion, our staff will go with him to see firsthand how produce is grown and they'll meet the farmers, too."
Of course, a big part of Pineapple Grill's success over the seven years has been the staff.
"We have a fantastic, tremendous, loyal and passionate staff," says Kaiwi. "They love taking care of our guests. They are the reason West Siders have embraced our casually elegant atmosphere over the years."
You may enjoy other courses in the anniversary feast while dining indoors in air-conditioned comfort or outdoors on the lanai that overlooks the golf greens. Savor Kobe beef and brie cheese ravioli, Kona kampachi nanbanzuke, artisan cheese plate, and Maui Gold pineapple upside-down cake with local ice cream.
The entree of Asian-braised Kobe-style Wagyu short ribs with potato-horseradish croquette is also a stand out, a work of art from a visual and flavor stand point. "Our anniversary special is like a traditional tasting menu, and everyone at the table should savor it together."