Nothing screams family like fine Italian dining. So when the Maui Time ‘ohana welcomed the early arrival of its newest addition to our family, Betty Sapphire Russo, we all agreed that a pau hana at Kihei’s Bada Bing was the best way to celebrate.
Bada Bing is part of the Bermuda Triangle of restaurants and bars on South Kihei Road. The decor is what you typically find in family-style Italian restaurants: tables covered with red and white-checkered cloths and walls plastered with old posters, photos and record labels celebrating the Rat Pack in all their glory.
After toasting Betty’s arrival, we contemplated the menu. Bada Bing offers a full selection of traditional appetizers and entrees and a few house originals, in addition to offering full bar service. The group unanimously decided to start with a two-foot order of garlic bread slathered in melted mozzarella ($4.99) and the famous spinach artichoke dip ($6.99). The bread was excellent and the dip quickly vanished.
As for entrees, Anthony went with the Spicy Italian Pizza topped with sausage, peppers and onions ($9.99). Kim and Rudi both decided on the Chicken Marsala ($12.99). Kim took our waiter’s suggestion to have it served on a bed of garlic-mashed potatoes while Rudi stuck with the traditional bed of pasta. Brad and Samantha were won over by the special Tiger Shrimp cooked in a white wine sauce and served on a bed of pasta ($14.99). Nancy ordered the classic Eggplant Parmesan ($11.99) while Heidi opted for the Mac Nut Mahi Mahi Florentine ($17.99). I initially planned to order the Chicken Marsala or Mac Nut Mahi, but eventually settled on the Basil Seared Fresh Ahi ($17.99).
As we were discussing reality shows and our recent office move to Wailuku, our waiter arrived with our food. Heidi raved about her tender and creamy fish, served on a generous bed of pasta. Nancy was equally pleased about her tender pieces of eggplant smothered in marinara and mozzarella. Brad and Samantha wasted no time digging into their jumbo prawns. After devouring his Chicken Marsala and all the sides, Rudi said his chicken was a bit dry but not so dry to stop him from finishing it in record time.
As for me, my perfectly cooked fish was served with a side of root vegetables. The fish was smothered in a lemon caper sauce that was creamier than I expected but had just the right blend of flavors. The vegetables were tender but not soggy and seasoned nicely. My dish came with a side of al-dente penne pasta and sauce that could be considered a meal in itself. I enjoyed a few bites but was more than full after finishing my fish and veggies.
The only real disappointment of the night came during dessert when Anthony was denied a bowl of Spumoni ice cream. Even in his state of profound disappointment—“How can an Italian restaurant not serve Spumoni Ice Cream?!” he thundered—even he admitted that he had nothing but praise for his pizza, which he somehow consumed in its entirety. MTW