The spectacular sunset alone was worth the 45- minute drive from Kaanapali Beach to Wailea when we visited Ka’ana Kitchen at the luxurious Andaz Maui this past November. The food elevated the experience even more. Chef Chance Savell’s seasonal menu delivers a creative spin on global favorites using local ingredients from island farmers, fisheries and ranches.
The expansive restaurant overlooks the Andaz resort’s four terraced infinity pools with a view of the Pacific Ocean. The atmosphere is both casual and stylish. When we dined on the early side, we saw families and couples seated at the well-spaced tables.
Ka’ana means “to share” in Hawaiian dialect, and the seasonal dishes are all generous and shareable. For starters (listed as small plates on the menu) we shared three dishes. Grilled octopus salad was tossed with mixed greens and tender chunks of octopus, lemon oil, and Big Island chevre.
Grilled scallops were perched on top of local Kula beets mixed with sesame seeds, pickled mustard seeds, and lemon crème. Coconut clams were infused with coconut, kaffir lemon, tomato butter, and ulu (local breadfruit). Visit the “Recipe” section of this issue for this last dish.
We could have stopped with starters, but we came to Ka’ana Kitchen to explore the full menu. Main courses are, indeed, large portions. Three thick slices of Big-Eye Ahi tuna are served with cherry tomatoes, potatoes, and bits of sweet corn and bok choy sprinkled with parmesan.
Slices of prime sirloin are accompanied by ulu tater tots, miso kabocha, and black pepper red wine jus (see featured image above). There are also a few international dishes like the mushroom risotto served with corn, arugula, and a 62-degree egg and platter of buttermilk fried chicken served with pineapple, warm brassica salad, and jalapeño cheddar cornbread.
We asked Chef Savell how southern fried chicken ended up on the menu. It turns out he’s from Arkansas and wanted to add his southern imprint to the menu. The fried chicken is Ka’ana Kitchen’s most popular dish, he noted. He uses a breading blend of all-purpose flour, regular rice flour, and mochiko, glutinous sweet rice flour to achieve the desired crispness. Savell has worked with the Andaz Maui since its pre-opening; prior he worked with Hyatt hotels in Kauai and Colorado. The Andaz is a concept by Hyatt.
The dessert menu is small but mighty. Kula strawberries are a specialty of Maui, grown on the island’s cooler upcountry. You’ll find them in Ka’ana Kitchen’s strawberry cake served with white chocolate ganache and whipped cream. At our server’s recommendation, we tasted the house-made coconut ice cream with chocolate sauce and roasted macadamia nuts served with small square cakes – more like petit fours -dipped in chocolate and dusted with coconut flakes.
New York-based mixologist and native Hawaiian, Julie Reiner, created the beverage program, again adding local touches. We recommend the Lilikoi Daquiri and the Lime in the Coconut (Tito’s Vodka with ginger syrup, Jeff’s Coconut Crème, and lime). The extensive wine list is divided by styles and sensations; for example, “crisp, bright refreshing” whites; “full, opulent, seductive” reds. There is a small dessert wine list for those who prefer a Port, Banyuls, or Hungarian Royal Tokaji for a sweet ending.
Sipping cocktails watching the sunset turn from gold to fiery orange to deep purple was dreamy and intoxicating. We left Ka’ana filled with the Aloha spirit. Next visit, we will book a room and stay overnight!
Details: Ka’ana Kitchen is located at the Andaz Maui Wailea Resort and offers outside and indoor dining. Reservations are strongly recommended. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for all guests ages 12 and older. www.hyatt.com
Visting: Hawaii is an isolated archipelago of islands protective of the health of its residents and visitors and its natural environment. Currently, there have been stringent requirements for visiting the island out of an abundance of caution during COVID-19. Visit www.gohawaii.com for information.
Featured image at top of the article: Ka’ana Kitchen’s prime sirloin strip with ulu tater tots and miso kabocha. All photos were taken by Melanie Young, Food Editor