The Makena Beach and Golf Resort is already popular with its Saturday Japanese Buffet and lavish Sunday Brunch, but that’s not enough for Executive Chef Marc McDowell. On Friday Dec. 2, 2011 he will launch a dreamy five-station seafood lovers extravaganza buffet, with seatings at 5:30, 6, 7:30 and 8pm.
The seafood buffet showcases the waters surrounding Maui with local favorites like the poke bar, which features fresh island sashimi and an array of poke preparations. Carving stations will offer traditional preparations of mahi mahi steamed in ti leaves and served with Thai coconut curry vegetables (as well as hand-carved prime rib with a caramelized onion port wine demi glace). Chef’s selections include Makena crab au gratin potatoes, beer batter mahi mahi with a jalapeno remoulade, steamed clams with crusty bread and garlic butter, cilantro and macadamia-crusted opakapaka with grilled pineapple salsa, seared prosciutto and basil salmon with orange marmalade gastrique. Kids will love the shrimp fried rice with scallop fettucini and lobster fritters with pineapple sage salsa. Desserts are traditional–mini pumpkin pies, apple crumble bites, pineapple rum colada bites and warm Molokai sweet potato soufflé.
A skilled team of five start will preparing the buffet a full day in advance. McDowell will carve an ice sculpture as a display featuring an unlimited supply of peel-and-eat tiger prawns, oysters and Dungeness crabs. He also keeps his own garden of greens and herbs. I got a chance to ask him about using his garden-grown goods in the buffet.
MauiTime: What items will be featured in the seafood buffet from the garden?
Marc McDowell: Our garden features over 80 exotic herbs and 100 different types of vegetables. We use all of them in the dishes featured at our resort. Here is what will be featured at the buffet: poblano peppers for the shrimp caesar salad, French tarragon in the tortellini artichoke salad, basil and chives and dill in the lobster and scallop seafood terrines, lemon thyme in the chowder, bronze fennel in the seafood bisque, red barron scallions in the pokes, kaffir lime in the whole steamed mahi mahi with Thai coconut curry, pineapple sage in the salsa for the lobster fritters, chocolate mint in the chocolate mousse. Fresh ginger in the pokes, whole mahi mahi, Thai green eggplant and bottle gourd and red velvet okra in the Thai curry vegetables, African spice basil in the seared proscuitto and basil salmon with orange marmalade gastrique, jalapenos in the remoulade for the Wisconsin beer batter, Alaskan peas in the sautéed medley of vegetables, lemongrass in the steamed clams. Just to name a few…
MauiTime: How does this seafood buffet rate compared to your other two already popular buffets?
McDowell: Except for the aquaponic baby lettuce, prime rib, vegetable dishes and desserts everything has some sort of fish or shellfish ingredient fresh from the islands of Hawaii.
MauiTime: What dish are you most excited to showcase at the seafood buffet?
McDowell: How can you put me on the spot like that? All of our items reveals some kind of unique preparation or flavor combination that compliments the seafood featured. Just read the menu and everything just pops out at you and makes you think that has to be the best!
MauiTime: Duly noted–come with an appetite. What was the inspiration to showcase seafood specifically at your friday night buffet?
McDowell: I think the south side of Maui needed a place to enjoy fresh island seafood where the ingredients are homegrown and the dishes are all made from scratch. Being that we are on an island surrounded by the Pacific ocean and have some of the freshest ingredients nurtured by some of the best soil on earth; this buffet gives us a chance to showcase the bounty of ocean combined with the unique flavors of Hawaii. I am using any fish in growing in my back yard like mahi, ahi, opakapaka, swordfish.
The Friday Seafood Buffet is offered every Friday night at $50 (plus tax) per person, $25 (children aged 5-12). Children under 5 years old eat free. Prices do not include tax or gratuity. Reservations are highly recommended and seating is limited.
Full Menu: http://bit.ly/rEHyNK