It’s not everyday that I meet a chef on Maui who has roots in feeding the High Society of Newport, Rhode Island, but my visit to Aria’s in Wailuku to see Chef Majic Carson was a lesson to the history of this impressive place in American life. Carson and his brother Ed grew up among historic churches and mansions, where their grandmother Aria cooked up a perfect storm. They named the Wailuku eatery after her. History aside, their menu brings a refreshing bit of sophistication to Wailuku. Chef Omar Acevedo and Chef Stacy Fujiwara are also on the Aria’s team.
The braised chocolate chipotle lamb shank ($17) on their entree menu is incredible; the shank and its sauce are nestled into a red pepper maizena that’s a succulent starch alternative to rice. The entree menu also features mahi in beurre blanc with mash, braised pork belly in mushroom risotto and stir fry veggies with soy ginger shrimp (all $17).
The roasted beet and kale salad is a colorful and healthy dish, filled with cubes of golden and red beets, served in a giant bowl with Olowalu tomato, carrot curls and a mango vinaigrette. They also offer a grilled veggie feta and quinoa salad with Maui onion and balsamic. The sandwiches are served on focaccia that comes from S and J Bakery in Wailuku, and they come with fries or Caesar salad for $11-13. Burgers are Big Stacks, Big Island beef patties in loco moco, bacon and blue, Swiss mushroom or classic versions sandwiched between Punalu‘u sweet bread, and also come with fries or Caesar for $14.
Appetizers include local favorites like chow fun and other fresh mahi dishes like fish and chips as well as hearty pasta plates. I ordered a dessert called the Frenchgasm that was out of this world. It’s stuffed French toast with lilikoi creme, berry kulis and creme fraich. It’s a work of art from Chef Stacy that you don’t want to miss. While the restaurant lacks a liquor license at that location, you can BYOB.
Aria’s is open from 10am to 3pm, 5pm to 8:30pm on Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 3pm, 5pm to 8:30pm on Saturday, and 8:30am to 2pm on Sunday. Aria’s (2062 W. Vineyard. St., Wailuku); 808-242-2742, Ariasmaui.com