Last week I spent a rare girl’s night out in Lahaina with Dana, my former roommate. We checked out the Mai Tai Lounge, located on Front Street in the old Blu spot.
After we got through the brightly lit jewelry store lined with cases of sparkling baubles that fronts the restaurant entrance, we found a very swanky atmosphere. There are two bars, one on the first floor and one on the second, but the downstairs bar was closed. So we headed straight up to the airy lanai, where a few people were hanging out around candle-lit tables or lounging on low wicker couches at the edge of the deck.
The Mai Tai Lounge is not only a waterfront restaurant; it actually sits over the splashing waves. We perched on a couple of stools at the bar near the back, figuring we’d be closer to the cocktails.
It pretty much goes without saying that the Mai Tai Lounge makes a good mai tai. I tried it before and found that it holds the perfect balance of rums and fresh juices and isn’t too terribly sweet. I contemplated getting another one of these potent concoctions, but opted instead for a mojito. Dana ordered her favorite drink: “something creamy.” In this case, it was the Road to Hana, which contains banana and chocolate liqueurs.
For dinner we decided to get a few things to share. While we contemplated the sushi selections the guys sitting next to us got their Ahi Rainbow Tower, which is unlike any sushi I’ve ever seen. It’s ahi poke layered with white rice and a mango, pineapple and avocado mixture, then topped off with lots of bright red masago and a wasabi-ginger drizzle. They serve it with wonton chips, so it’s kind of like sushi salsa.
It looked absurdly delicious, but Dana and I wanted something crunchy and green. So we ordered the grilled vegetable chop salad. It’s a huge bowl of romaine lettuce with lots of perfectly seasoned squash, zucchini, asparagus, tomato and Maui onions, then topped with toasted coconut, macadamia nuts and a sweet Maui onion dressing. Even though there were two of us, we couldn’t make it to bottom of the bowl before our entrée arrived.
And that would be the Gaucho Shrimp Enchiladas with green tomatillo-avocado sauce. Three fresh corn tortillas came stuffed with cheese and shrimp. The whole thing was nice and mild but needed a little hot sauce to spice it up. On the side we ordered Portuguese fried rice that came with lots of little bits of savory sausage and creamy black beans.
If I wasn’t sharing with Dana (who is allergic to wheat) I would have dove in to a big plate of fried onion rings or sweet potatoes. The pupu platter, which comes with five different items and a trio of dipping sauces, is definitely on my list of things to try next. They also do fresh, local fish with creative preparations, sandwiches, burgers and ribs, so I have lots of reasons to come back for more. MTW