It's anniversary time again - at yet another famous Maui restaurant.
Saturday, Pacific'O at 505 Front Street in Lahaina will celebrate 20 years of successful business with free pupu, cash-bar drinks and jazz music. But you definitely must RSVP to get in the door.
"We're inviting friends and family and past employees as well as Maui fishermen, musicians and those in the industry," says partner Stephan Bel-Robert.
Partner Stephan Bel-Robert (from left), Executive Chef Anton Haines and General Manager Robert Comstock show off a just-caught mahimahi brought in by a local fisherman.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"It's going to be a great music lineup, just like we had jazz here for 10 or 15 years, and we're hoping for some surprise guests. Gene Argel is in charge."
So between bites of, say, duck brioche with ume jelly and crispy duck skin; and egg dashi with uni, shiso and wasabi by new Executive Chef Anton Haines, you may enjoy a stellar jazz lineup.
The outdoor party on the oceanfront lawn will run from 7 to 10 p.m. If you RSVP now, your name can get on the list. But do call quick, before it hits capacity.
* IT'S PARTY TIME! THE 20th anniversary bash of Pacific'O will be held on the oceanfront lawn of 505 Front Street in Lahaina from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Enjoy free pupu, cash bar cocktails and live jazz music. You must RSVP to get a spot at 667-4341. For restaurant details, visit www.pacificomaui.com.
"Twenty years ago, as you walked through the arcade of shops and restaurants at 505 Front Street., jazz permeated in Pacific'O restaurant," says Argel. "It was always a good time. Doug White, Michael Buono and I entertained with heart. We were so excited when our friends showed up to sit in. They included Sam Ahia, Shiro Mori, and George Benson, to name a few."
Twenty years later, Argel and pals are still the talk of the jazz town.
"Join Doug, Paul Marchetti and myself to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Pacific'O on Saturday," says Argel.
As for the cuisine, Executive Chef Haines has been at the helm of the Pacific'O kitchen for just 110 days, but he was sous chef for a year before his promotion.
Haines made quite the splash last month with his introductory dinner, in which he and "Top Chef" finalist Sheldon Simeon wowed diners with 11 courses as they were filmed creating in the kitchen.
"Chef Lyndon Honda also came and helped out," says Haines. "It was by far the most ambitious menu I've ever undertaken, and I must say, everyone was totally stoked with the food."
Passionate about what he does, Haines will present two different styles of food for the guests. Some will be hand passed, others will be served at stations.
He has a background in classical French cuisine, and he likes to do Asian influences in his cooking. Plus, Pacific'O is known as a farm-to-table restaurant because of its O'o Farm in Kula, and there is a strong emphasis on fresh local seafood.
"While there will be two old menu items, most of the food will be items that represent the direction I'm taking with the menu," Haines says. "I want people to get the sense of my style of cooking."
Attendees will find shrimp won tons, fish crusted in coconut and macadamia nuts, and kalua-pork quesadillas.
Haines' new dishes will include tako with burnt ponzu, hijiki and sweet peas; and fresh Kauai shrimp and snapper in a roasted-garlic black-sesame paste.
"I'll also dry age strip loin and cook it with Alii mushrooms and truffles; and present beet-cured salmon foie gras with potato and miso mustard. Noodle lovers will find green tea soba with nori and ginger."
Since O'o Farm grows coffee in addition to acres and acres of fresh vegetables and sub tropical fruits, Pacific'O has retained Greg Seukof as its coffee specialist. So you will find O'o Farm Maui-grown coffee martinis causing a stir at the party.
"Greg just got back from Bali, where he entered a coffee competition,' says General Manager Robert Comstock. "He's headed to India next. We're a small-production farm, but we now ship coffee five days a week to the Mainland and beyond."
Pacific'O is open daily for lunch as well as dinner. The portions are plentiful and the food is fresh as it gets. Savor ceviche du jour with a dry glass of Sauvignon Blanc; the O'o Farm organic salad; fresh catch with panko crust; and fried dessert of banana-pineapple lumpia with ice cream.
For more details, call 667-4341 or visit www.pacificomaui.com