The Hard Rock Cafe Maui is at it again, adding new re-imagined American food to their menu. Complacency is not their style, says General Manager Brent Rumph, who has been a mover and a shaker at their new location since arriving last year. While last year’s menu changes went in the healthy category, this year’s dishes offer more sumptuous comfort.
“We are a big global company,” says Rumph. “Yet we are community based throughout our kitchen’s process of executing this menu. We have a lot of local taste coming out of the kitchen in our Lahaina Hard Rock. You can’t get this fresh Maui caught fish in our Madrid location. Our roots are good American comfort food, and we are making more items from scratch and getting it to you with that homemade love.”
Rumph says they took a chance dumping the Cobb salad, a favorite item for folks who love cafe food. But with the new Smokehouse Chicken Salad’s tender smoked and diced chicken, pecans, bacon, cheddar, pico de gallo and sliced avo, it’s no wonder customers hardly seem to miss the Cobb. Then there’s the Texan, a pulled pork sandwich with Chipotle and hickory bbq sauce. The pork is piled high, and topped with crispy fried onions and Jalapenos. In fact, they have five different versions of this smokehouse sandwich.
The fish tacos are a great fish option, served in flour tortillas and filled with the fresh catch of the day. The seasoning they grill on the fish is divine, and then they drizzle on a bit of their guacamole Chipotle ranch and add the works. In fact, there’s a plate full of add-ons for your taco: guacamole, cheese, Jalapeno peppers, cilantro, beans and chips.
With emphasis on your local food community and eating local, the corporate Hard Rock chain has taken notice and played nice. Every Hard Rock location is incorporating and branding their own dishes and each one offers a unique burger. Only the Hawaii locations get to call their burger “The Local Burger” though, and it’s a doozy: 10 ounces of beef basted in their homemade black and gold sauce, which is HRC’s take on teriyaki. Then it’s topped with a grilled pineapple ring, barbecued pork, crispy wontons, grilled sweet onions and lettuce and piled on a potato bun. Oh, and a stack of fries. It’s basically designed to put you into a Polynesian paralysis.
They also introduced the scrumptious Cajun Shrimp and Poached Pear Salad. Cajun spiced shrimp and sweet poached pears join with the greens to really make an unusual but irresistible combination. The Goat Cheese Chicken Salad was also an innovative dish, with diced chicken, dried cranberry and celery bound by goat cheese and a light citrus mayo dressing. Chef de cuisine Lauri Tondreault is committed to making each dish scrumptious with her scratch recipes.
Hard Rock offers live music most nights of the week and supports a burgeoning nightlife on the Westside. They also now serve breakfast and their regular menu simultaneously on the weekends starting at 10am, its Hard Rock’s take on brunch. On Saturdays, the Reggae Recovery Breakfast features a kick-ass Bloody Mary with toast, bacon, tomato and a pepperoncini. It’s basically a hangover-cure meal in a glass for just $6.50. The free live music on the weekend goes from 11am to 3pm. Kamaaina discount at 15% is always in effect.
Sundays Willie K plays live during brunch from 11 to 3. Plus they offer a bar top happy hour during breakfast with the same specials as the nightly happy hour: $3 domestic drafts, $4 Premium cocktails and domestic bottles and $5 Wines that Rock. There’s no cover unless it’s a special event. In case you weren’t in the know, they can also cater just about anything, from Bruleed Maui Pineapple & Crab Ceviche served on a fried wonton to Mini Beef Tenderloins served in a puff pastry crust with béarnaise sauce. Delicious!
900 Front St # B7
Lahaina, HI 96761
About Jen Russo
I write lifestyle and culinary columns for MauiTime. I love being a Maui girl and adore my big family. Dedicated food taster, blogger, internet fanatic, and Maui and Hawaii specialist.