Japengo Blessing Celebration at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa was a blast. Michael Jokovich, General Manager at the Hyatt, executed a fine grand opening start to finish. The celebration began with passed pupus and champagne at the lobby bar. While everyone warmed up the blessing began with hula, prayer, oli, and chants. It was off to a great start.
Then we moved on to the Japengo Restaurant for more delights. After the restaurant was blessed in prayer, we were walked through the corridor to the entrance. There was a lot of dramatical interpretation going on, there were girls along the corridor in costume representing each of the cultural culinary delights to come.
Japengo Maui is open air, ocean view dining. The new bar they built is amazing, its going to be a lot of fun to come here to experience sushi in the Japengo interpretation. Once inside the restaurant a story was told. The story of how a little seed of idea turned into the fabulous undertaking of building and creating Japengo. In addition the story was interpreted by Japanese martial artists, topped by a polynesian firedance.
See the videos below for a little taste:
The Japanese martial art of Kendo interprets the story of Japengo.
I know I am a little gratuitous with the fire dancing here, but this was a great show.
Michael Jokovich gets Japengo lit up in fire for the ultimate kick off to the blessing celebration. Such a gracious host, he thanks the parties involved in making it all a success.
This is not the first Japengo on the planet. It is already an award winning restaurant in La Jolla California at the Hyatt there. I am not exactly sure who came up with the concept, (but I will find out). See Japengo La Jolla There is also Japengo Honolulu.
After all the thank yous it was time to see the food. It was a sea of sushi, beautifully crafted seafood and rice, and glistening cuts of raw fish. Japengo is retaining the rights to bring sushi back to an art form, specializing in creating elegant, masterful bites, playing on textures of raw meats and vegetables, invigorating your senses with ginger and wasabi and aesthetics. My fellow foodie friend and date, Julie Y and I got down to business, seats at the bar and lots of sushi plates in front of us.
Also crafted and well thought out? The bar program. Great variations in sake, and sake cocktails caught my eye. I love sake, especially with sushi.
As if this were not enough, there was a display of hot foods in another outdoor area. Woks were live, rice and noodles were getting tossed around, there was prawns, baby bok choi, sauces and meats.
The grand finale was a performance by Cirque Polynesia. What a party! I can’t wait to go back and see what the menu is like on a regular evening.