The Plantation House in Kapalua has always been a showpiece.
With ocean and mountain views from its perch high above the resort and its two-sided fireplace and vaulted ceilings, it's romantic and elegant all at once.
Now, it's been kicked up 10 notches with a complete renovation - and the new menu by "Rising Star Chef" Jojo Vasquez does justice to the rebranding.
Executive Chef Jojo Vasquez has re-crafted the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus to reflect his passion for locally sourced and inspired dishes and he’s introduced some signature menu items such as his take on classic stroganoff, but with chicken; and braised beef short ribs with parsnip puree, crispy kale and Bordelaise (shown here).
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Seared ahi Benedict with spicy wasabi Hollandaise is one of six variations that include crab cake and classic, all served until 3 p.m.
The Plantation House photo
Wilmont Kahaiali‘i Jr. performs from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Fridays, singing his Hawaiian favorites in the newly named Nineteen @ The Plantation House lounge.
The Plantation House photo
The combination means that this iconic Kapalua restaurant since 1991 is definitely worth repeat visits.
Plus, the team is incredible. Vasquez was formerly with the Ritz and Morimoto, and even taught the finer art of sushi on two work stays in Moscow. New nighttime manager is none other than Michel Roy, a veteran in Maui's restaurant world.
Managing partner Norm Schuhardt is also a well-known name in Maui's industry; and new owner George Mackin is a friendly sort, who also runs Tennis magazine with Chris Evert and Pete Sampras.
Restaurant at a glance:
Hours: Open daily for breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; grill menu from 3 to 5:30 p.m.; and then dinner from 5:30 to closing.
Where: Situated in clubhouse of the Plantation Golf Course at 2000 Plantation Club Dr., Kapalua.
Menu highlights: Kula spinach omelets; chop salad; fresh fish tacos; Caprese fish sandwich; caramelized onion flat bread; coconut-curry orzo; and ahi with Alii mushrooms and kaffir lime vin blanc.
Renovation: Will dazzle you with new carpets, upholstery, color hues, artwork, blown-glass lamps, and exhibition wine cellar.
Book a party: It's a coveted hot spot for weddings and other group events. It offers Web Cam, in which you may watch the action firsthand.
For further information: Call 669-6299 or visit www.theplantation house.com.
Round off the team with Kristine Richter, director of concierge services, an expert in booking private parties there; and Wilmont Kahaiali'i for live music on Fridays, and it's a recipe for success.
"We're just completing a makeover and rebranding the legendary Plantation House, restoring it to its roots," says Mackin, who lives near the restaurant and had personal reasons (dining there regularly) for keeping it a success. "We want this restaurant to be your main destination, where you can also visit Kapalua Resort before or after you join us for breakfast, lunch or dinner."
Savor ethereal seared scallops and fresh-as-it-gets kampachi tartare as you sip a fine wine from the brand new, state-of-the-art exhibition wine cellar.
Drink in views of the new artworks by Lori Higgins and new blown-glass lamps by Hot Island Glass.
Hang out afternoons in the newly named Nineteen @ The Plantation House, and you will notice amazing changes, including the absence of beams in the vaulted ceilings, as you munch on soy-glazed shishito peppers with crispy mozzarella and scallions, and fire and ice chicken wings.
Crunch new salads such as iceberg wedge with bacon and blue cheese; Waipoli greens in sherry vinaigrette; and roasted Kula beets in pomegranate reduction with dilled feta and toasted pistachios, finished with arugula - a creative composition.
"During the daytime, when golfers come here, they want their food hot and they want it fast," says Vasquez. "So all of the popular eggs Benedicts have remained and I have added more omelets. It's really important for golfers to be able to enjoy breakfast all the way until 3 p.m., and we also feature lunch starting at 8 in the morning."
Parents who bring in kids will find keiki bento boxes and fun placemats for coloring and doing puzzles. Keiki cocktails include the Green Gecko soda.
"If you take care of the kids first, parents can enjoy the meal all of the way through," says Vasquez. "I want to make the menu very approachable. So I save all of the bells and the whistles for dinner."
Vasquez's rich Hudson Valley foie gras on Grand Marnier French toast with red-wine Kula strawberries is a big hit with California visitors; and his Surfing Goat Dairy farm's cheeses with local heirloom tomatoes and savory granola offers a stunning presentation and flavors that pop.
Tempting starters include scallion-lime tofu; and three-cheese arancini, an adult take on mac 'n' cheese. Sides range from grilled asparagus to roasted brussels sprouts. You may also opt from three types of fresh catch, duck confit a l'orange, and farfalle pasta in gorgonzola cream.
Desserts are really fun, from the green-tea tiramisu to the rum-soaked pineapple cake to chocolate gluten-free cake.
"With our Rising Star Chef Jojo Vasquez, and all of the menu as well as the restaurant improvements we've made, we think that you'll have a wonderful experience with us," Mackin enthuses.