Bringing the holy gastric trinity of bread, cheese and wine is not the only thing 100 Wines in Lahaina is doing well. I’ve had a few groups of friends dine there, and they’ve enjoyed the shared-plate style of dining as well as the European atmosphere. The menu is easy to digest: everything is listed on one page in categories like apps, soups, salads, boards to share, tartines, flatbreads and entrees. But the food delivery is more playful–most dishes come out on dark wooden cutting board look-a-likes; the sides and dressings served in jars and ceramics; and the bread comes heated in a paper bag.
“We are so excited to be creating this space here and using it as a new restaurant idea,” says Chef Lyndon Honda. “These dishes are made for sharing. The Brussels sprouts in a jar is an especially beautiful presentation, and the flatbreads are phenomenal.”
Chef Honda makes his own anchovy garlic paneer cheese in the grilled Waipoli farm romaine salad, served with a frozen balsamic granite dressing that liquifies as you sprinkle it onto your greens. The Brussels are served by pouring them out of the jar onto the board. The Balsamic reduction is a savory, carmelized syrup drizzled over with parm and pancetta. It’s sweet, salty and structured, all at once. Escargot, hummus, olives, fries, calamari, eggplant, sardines, nicoise and gazpacho are just a few of the items on the app and salad and soup offerings.
Having a wine and cheese party at a moment’s whim is even easier now, thanks to the wine menu. It lists $7 glasses from seven wine producing countries, or $9 wines by grape varietal, or you can choose bottles at $25, $35 or $45 prices. They even have liter-size boxes of wines, all totalling a hundred wine choices.
Tables of wine, organized by price, reside right near the bar in the middle of the dining room; you’re encouraged to walk around and peruse them. Think of it as dining in a wine shop. Wining and dining is social, and the intrigues of the bottles become part of your experience.
The Cohn Restaurant group also has the Pineapple Grill in Kapalua and a few restaurants in San Diego where they branded the popular Melting Pot before bringing it to Maui. This time they’ve developed a new concept here. The former Melting Pot foyer has been redesigned 100 Wines-style, which is decidedly old world European, as has the front bar and some of the dining room. Dark wood, rustic metal and inky lighting dominate the interior.
The dishes are part pupu, part meal, with sharing-is-caring the dominant philosophy here. The croque madame tartine was an impressive mouthful of melted gruyere cheese, proscuitto, Dijon, a parmesan reduction and soft garlic toast with a fried egg on top. We sliced it into pieces and dug in.
The flatbreads are larger share portions of bread and cheese but more like pizza. The dough is crisp and crusty on the outside with an array of cheeses, meats and veggies on top. They’re served in a long rectangle. Brie and truffle peelings, goat cheese and proscuitto, cured salmon and brie, carmelized onion, portobello mushroom, asparagus and mascarpone all find themselves atop these breads.
The restaurant also serves family style dishes for $17 per person, with a different theme for each day of the week: moules (mussels) and frites on Friday; braised short rib and potatoes on Saturday; flatbreads and wine on Industry Night Sundays; Boeuf Bourguignon and French country bread for Monday; Tuesday is fancy roasted chicken; Wednesday has pasta and chianti; and Thursday brings paella and Spanish bread. They also offer a late night menu after 10pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The restaurant has been cleverly created within the Melting Pot, and Melting Pot remains a dining room away. Both menus co-exist under one roof, and you can sample from both. Even better, their Grand Opening on Thursday, May 31 (6-9pm) will feature samplings from both restaurants at once. The cost is $50 per person, which benefits the Hui O Wa’a Kaulua Voyaging Canoe. There will be pupus and sampling from 100 Wines, plus cheese and chocolate fondue from Melting Pot, and live music from Avi and Indio.
Lahaina Gateway Center
325 Keawe St., Lahaina