Stella Blues Cafe
Supper Club, Fridays and Saturdays through 2/27/2010
1279 South Kihei Road
Kihei, HI 96753-5229
Serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Cocktails
Open Daily: 7:30am – 11:00pm
Supper Club Final Show days! 2/13, 2/19, 2/20, 2/26. 2/27. Reservations are a must, shows are selling out now!
The term Supper Club has a colorful history. Its a social destination, its classy cocktails, upscale dining, and on-stage entertainment. In the 1930’s & 40’s some went underground to become prohibition clubs. At least on Maui cocktails are legal thanks to the LC and Stella Blues’ Supper Club is rockin’. Their recently renovated entertainment and dining room is casual and distinguished. It is separate from their regular dining room, and as you check in at reservations you are led past their beautiful bar and to the back. It is a bit more upscale than their regular dining room. The mood is festive and dressy. The open beam ceiling and wood walls give the room a warm overtone, like being in a lodge or a chateau. The white table cloths and stemmed water glasses are a nice touch and just fancy enough. The pairing of the four course meal, the wine pairing and the fantastic duo of Barry Flanagan and Eric Gilliom stimulate your all your senses completely. The room is full of good sounds all night, from the clanking of forks and glasses early on and the din of happy conversation to the dimmed lights once stomachs are satisfied and Barry and Eric’s easy banter and amazing acoustic guitar style that will have you thoroughly amused.
Their four course meal is excellent. It changes with each show and the items are not necessarily on their regular menu. The first course starts with a palate pleasing appetizer. The ceviche I had was a wonderful starter fresh and citrusy, with a bit of coconut milk. A recent supper club menu featured stuffed mushroom caps with smoked marlin dip. It is a pre-fixe menu set by the chef, however it is so refreshing to not have to make a decision about the meal. Your job is to sit down and enjoy. I can do that. A crisp salad follows that course, fresh greens, fruit and cheese break up the meal. It is one of my favorite courses. If you are familiar with Stella’s you already know that they love to use locally made ingredients, putting an emphasis on sustainable menu’s and adding a healthy element to their comfort food.
The entree however does come with a decision, but its not a difficult one. Usually Beef or Fish. If you are vegetarian don’t worry, they have so many veggie friendly and amazing dishes just let your reservationist or server know you would like that option. Their mahi mahi encrusted with macadamia nuts and a lilikoi butter sauce is one of my favorite items on Stella’s menu. The sauce is heavenly and complements the tender and flaky mahi well. I was in luck the night I was in for Supper Club, it was one of the entree options. But they also have a wonderful prime rib, new york steak, and pastas. You can see a sample supper club menu here. Their nightly dinner menu is extensive but the chef is having fun with the ingredients and menu design reflects this creativity. Red or White wine pairing is another option you will have to make a decision on.
The dinner finishes with a fabulous dessert. Amid the Brownie ala mode, cheesecake, the sweet tooth gets fed as the lights go down and guitars heat up. Barry Flanagan is an award winning Hawaii musician well known from his band Hapa. A virtuoso Slack Key Guitar legend, at first glance you wouldn’t expect this pretty haole boy to throwdown the chicken skin Hawaiian music, singing in Hawaiian. But that is only if you don’t know him. Barry Flanagan is renowned in the Hawaiian music realm. In his 1993 album won 6 Na Hoku Hanohano awards including album, song and artist of the year. His 2006 album titled Maui also won album of the year at the Na Hoku Hanohano and a number of other awards that year including the graphics award for Maui’s own Scott Johnson of Dogtowne Designs.
Eric Gilliom is the second half of the musical team with a great story of his own. A Maui Boy from a entertainment family, he left the islands to pursue music and theatre. After many successful projects in the mainland and abroad he found himself back on Maui pursuing and feeding the arts and entertainment world here. His performances in the local productions of Rocky Horror Picture show as Franknfurter are infamous. His band Barefoot Natives with Willie K was very successful. (here is video of the two). Eric is also in the the Mick Fleetwood’s Island Rumours band. But according to Gilliom’s myspace blog its Barry Flanagan who taught him to play slack key and sing in Hawaiian, resulting in Eric’s touring with Hapa a few years back. Most recently Gilliom appeared on the Grammy’s performing with his sister, Amy Hanaialii Gilliom.
That camaraderie and aloha surfaces while the two perform together. Gilliom steals the show with his stories and jokes, its practically a comedy in between sets with his self effacing humor. Barry goes along with it and infuses the explanations, the histories behind the songs and the music. Its a history lesson that you want to hear, your mind opened by food and wine, your ears swayed by the acoustics around you. Hawaiian music history is being made on the stage as well. The chemistry between the two performers is palpable. To be a part of that and to witness that is really the fun part of the evening, complements to the chef aside. There are only 5 days left in the series to catch, and they are selling out already.