I wanted to go out to dinner on Saturday night. I didn’t want anything too fancy, just tasty food, good times and great company. It sounded like a good time to check out Fred’s Mexican Cafe in Kihei.
It was very lively at Fred’s, with lots of people, music and a short wait at the door since they don’t take reservations. We sat down in their front area and made friends with a party of 11 waiting to be seated.
Later we were seated on the lanai under the warm evening Kihei sky. The setting couldn’t be better for beer and chips. Our server, Leilani, was there in an instant with the house corn chips and fresh salsa, as well as our Dos Equis on tap and orange soda on ice.
We also got the evening feast going with Fred’s shrimp quesadilla. A fantastic combo of shrimp, jalapeno and cheese, it’s served hot and gooey with guacamole and sour cream.
At the neighboring table, a couple in their 60’s were getting their leftovers boxed up, so I asked them what they liked on the menu. The wife said the enchiladas and the husband enjoyed the fish tacos, but they both came back for the chingaderas—delectable burrito cross-sections dipped in egg batter and breadcrumbs and fried. They’re pretty irresistible once you get started on them.
“We were here in March,” the wife said as she was leaving. “And it was just a great place to eat so we are back. Our condo is just over there. My husband got the combo plate—it’s a lot of food.”
The menu is huge, too. It comes in the form of a big tablemat. I ordered a combo plate with fish taco, chicken enchilada and chingaderas. It came with beans and rice and cost me about $11.
My husband got a burrito stuffed with fresh chicken breast, black beans and rice. While the menu boasted that all burritos weighed more than a pound, his looked like at least three pounds.
The grilled mahi fish taco was excellent, slathered in delicious fish taco sauce. I brought my leftovers home and gave it the second-day taste test and was amazed at how well the taco held up.
All of the chicken used in their kitchen, dubbed “Hell’s Kitchen” by a huge mural across the establishment’s wall, is fresh breast meat. They also use black beans, and their Mexican rice is unusual in that it contains veggies. All of it was quite tasty.
A little while later our friends Steve and Victoria from Kahului ended up sitting at the table next to us. Victoria’s Caesar salad was a big bed of romaine loaded with medium-size shrimp.
“Gosh, there was a lot of shrimp, at least two dozen!” she said. Ironically, they found kismet that night when they realized they were seated at exactly the same table where they’d had their first date years ago—when the restaurant was KKO.
I finished up the evening with Fred’s one and only signature dessert, the Chocolate Diablo. The devil was surely involved in this concoction of chocolate mousse, brownie pieces and whipped cream. I’m already looking forward to my next visit to Hell’s Kitchen. MTW