Times are tough. Chances are you’re getting sick of hearing that, but at the same time are acutely aware of how true it is. It’s also a safe bet that your household belt-tightening has led to a decrease in the number of meals you eat at restaurants that don’t feature a drive-through window.
Establishments have obviously realized this as well, and the savvy ones are offering some pretty awesome deals to entice cash-strapped locals to venture—and eat—out. One of the better bangs for your buck on-island can be found at Big Wave Café in Kihei. From 5-6:30pm, diners can get two entrees for the price of one. That’s a steal even at a greasy spoon joint, but when you factor in the quality of Big Wave’s fare you’re looking at one of those all-too-rare can’t-miss situations.
Part of Executive Chef Raul Bermudez’s award-winning family of restaurants that also includes RB Black Angus Steakhouse and Kahana Sands on the West side, Big Wave has been in business for five years. General Manager Nick Poree says they recently tweaked their menu—not an outright overhaul, but there are a few new items for those who haven’t been in for a while, including the New York steak.
On our recent visit we began with the crab cakes and wok-fried California roll. The cakes come with avocado, black beans and a cilantro lime butter sauce, giving them an intriguing south-of-the-border twist. But the roll is what really stood out. Places that don’t specialize in sushi but feature it on the menu often regard it as a throwaway item. Not so here. Stuffed with fresh ingredients, dipped in tempura and lightly fried, the roll may be the best of any kind I’ve had on-island outside a Japanese/sushi restaurant.
Our entrees proved no less eclectic—or delicious—than the pupus. The crab-stuffed snapper with white wine butter sauce and capers may sound almost too rich. Instead, it packs a flavorful wallop but is remarkably light; even after clearing my plate I felt full but not weighted down. The vegetarian sampler—roasted sweet potatoes and marinated tofu with sautéed spinach, grilled veggies and sun-dried tomato pesto—and the banana-crusted chicken served with jasmine rice and a faintly spicy curry sauce also got high marks.
But the most raved-about dish was probably the special, essentially a larger version of the tempura sushi appetizer that featured ahi and spinach along with the crab meat. Again, considering Big Wave does so many other things, their mastery of the roll (a deceptively simple item that’s easy to misfire) is impressive.
Though dessert was almost more than we could bear, we soldiered on for the good of humanity and (mostly) polished off a decadently rich, warm brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and some above-average crème brulée cleverly served in a pineapple round.
In addition to its impressive 2 for 1, Poree says Big Wave will soon be launching even sweeter kama‘aina specials that may apply to take-out as well as dine-in. That’s welcome news, since, as we know all too well, times are tough. MTW