I can eat a lot for lunch. Sometimes I’ll pack a lunch for work but find a few hours after I get there that I could really use some take out. I’m guessing the fact that I’m breastfeeding has something to do with it. Anyway, during these times of meal duress I often just head to the counter at Maui Grill and Bento in Wailuku.
They have Japanese, Korean, American and “Maui style” cuisine. All their plate lunches come with a choice of green salad or mac salad, as well as two Asian veggie side dishes, like yummy pickled cabbage or crisp, seasoned lotus root. That means three salads per plate, people. Nobody does that.
Maui Grill and Bento also takes their grilling and bentos seriously. It’s not in their name for nothing. With choices from delicious teriyaki unagi, fried mandoo, California roll, salmon, steak or chicken, these little boxes packed with side dishes and rice are healthy and quick. Economical too, with prices starting at a mere $4.50. If you get hungry on the way home, stop by after 5 p.m. when all bentos go for half price.
The grill is a very earthy way to prepare food. The fire roasts meats and seafoods in a low fat preparation, but gives it that delicious fired-up barbecue flavor. The grilled Mahi Mahi, Salmon, calamari, kalbi, duck or chicken all come in a generous serving at an affordable $8.95. The steak and jumbo shrimp are a bit more, but you can combine them for a surf and turf lunch plate for just $10.95. Maui Grill and Bento also has a large selection of fresh sushi made to order ranging in price from $3 to $10.95. Big sushi combination platters go for between $10 and $30.
All that’s great, but I rarely get past the specials board. One memorable day the choices were opakapaka with lemon caper sauce, seared ahi, barbecue pork chops or sausage and spaghetti. I opted for the opakapaka. It was grilled perfectly. The green salad came crisp and fresh with julienned carrots, shredded purple cabbage, green romaine and a shoyu-based dressing.
Another day I ordered the gobo and pickled cabbage. Gobo is burdock root, julienned and cooked until tender and then seasoned just right. It’s a Japanese delicacy. I’ve also enjoyed their meat and fish jun combo, with thin teriyaki steak; fish filets prepared the authentic Korean way, dipped in egg and fried; and their filling crab cake sandwich served with French fries.
Their beverage refrigerator is stocked full of vitamin water, green tea, iced coffee, aloe drinks, sodas and water. You’ll also find containers of seasoned lotus root, prepared gobo, salted cabbage, kim chee, pickled cucumber, daikon and ginger, all of which is homemade. I haven’t seen a selection this good since O’oka’s was open. They also offer chips, cookies, candies and friendly service all week long. MTW