Food Restaurant Profile Vol. 26 No. 02

Ka’ana Kitchen, Maui: Sharing the Aloha Spirit and Local Flavors

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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.

Chef Chance Savell in Ka’ana Kitchen’s open cooking space

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 octopus salad with 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.

Grilled scallops with gold and red Kula beets and local greens

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.

Sashimi grade big-eye tuna with tomatoes, sweet corn and 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.

Coconut ice cream and cake with roasted macadamia nuts.

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.

Watching the sunset and afterglow from the outdoor dining terrace at Ka’ana Kitchen

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

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An engaging speaker and writer, Melanie Young hosts the weekly national radio shows, The Connected Table Live, featuring conversations with global thought leaders in wine, food, spirits and hospitality (a Feedspot Top 10 Food & Drink Podcasts for 2021), and Fearless Fabulous You, a lifestyle show for and about women (both on iHeart and more than 30 other podcast platforms). Young has contributed articles on wine, spirits, food, and culinary travel to Wine Enthusiast, Seven Fifty Daily, Wine4Food and Jewish Week. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Wine Media Guild, and Women of the Vine & Spirits. Young’s former marketing and events agency, M Young Communications, worked with global wine, food organizations, publishing companies and nonprofits. She had an integral role in the creation, launch and management of The James Beard Foundation Awards, New York Restaurant Week, and Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund (2001) which raised funds to provide for the families of restaurant workers killed in the September 11th terrorist attacks. www.theconnectedtable.com www.melanieyoung.com Instagram @theconnectedtable

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