Now I actually have an excuse to be on a golf course. The Pineapple Grill is a new restaurant located right on the green at the Bay Course in Kapalua. It’s been open for eight weeks and has the vibe of a young, savvy restaurant on the verge of inevitable success.
Walking in the door feels like a breath of fresh air. The restaurant isn’t very big, but its sprawling layout and high ceiling create ample space. A circular, robust bar greets guests at the entrance and a chic glass wine room lies just behind.
Tall windows encase the whole restaurant, which is a flow of several levels and sections. Ocean views are available from almost all of the indoor tables. Elegant wood furniture and art create a very fine decor. A large party section has walls painted to symbolize the evolution of primitive man; a lower level features emblems of Hawai’i’s turtle. Colorful glass lights and marine ornaments descend from the painted ceiling and add contemporary style.
There are also two levels of tables on the lanai, which is perched on the 19th hole of the Bay Course with a lovely view of the West Maui Mountains. Pineapple-shaped lampposts illuminate the indoor and outdoor dining rooms. It’s sophisticated without being pretentious.
After soaking up the classy atmosphere, I was a bit worried I wouldn’t be able to afford lunch. Then I looked at the menu and was pleasantly surprised to find very affordable pupus, salads and sandwiches.
Chef Joey Macadandang, most recently of Roy’s in Kihei, infuses modern Pacific Island cuisine with interesting flavors and garnishes. The menu takes advantage of many local Maui products, especially pineapples, vegetables, beef, cheese and fish. Salads and sandwiches range from $7-$12.50 and cover the full spectrum of tastes.
I ordered their signature Pineapple Grill Cobb Salad and would wholeheart
edly recommend it to any salad buff (but only if you’re hungry!). There was nothing sparse or dietary about the huge painter’s palate-like bowl of greens, grilled chicken, blue cheese, avocado, boiled egg bacon and diced apples with creamy buttermilk dressing.
A fresh crusty French roll accompanied the beautiful dish, and I meticulously dug through it until I got to the bottom. The ingredients came together in harmony in each bite, a testament to Chef Joey’s ability to synchronize foods and flavors.
My dining companion Christa ordered the Sashimi of Ahi Tuna. She received 12 big pieces for $14, plus a generous dollup of wasabi. She shared a bite with me and it dissolved perfectly in my mouth. It was just after noon (so beer was kosher) and Pineapple Grill scored extra points for having Heineken on tap. The service was very friendly and timely.
The lunch experience was so positive we went back for dinner the next evening. There was even more ambiance and charm at night. The dinner menu was a little more exotic and pricey with an array of pupus, soups, salads, seafood and steak.
I started with the Kona Lobster Coconut Thai Bisque and was enthralled to actually taste each of those elements as I stopped myself from licking the bowl clean. Menu entrees “from the Moana” and “from the ‘Aina” ran from $25-$35 and the burden of picking just one is heavy.
Christa and her mother ordered the Seared Rare Ahi with garlic yuzu-pepper vinaigrette, hearts of palm salad and bell pepper relish. Her father chose the Sweet Butter Roasted Sea Bass with mashed Molokai sweet potato and vanilla-bean orange butter.
I opted for the Crab and Macadamia Nut Crusted Giant Prawns on creamy risotto with sweet butter asparagus and lobster essence. If
I ever saw a live shrimp half this size I would never go back in the ocean.
We were all elated with our dishes, which we washed down with a Whitehall Lane Cabernet from Napa Valley. Our waiter Jeff was top notch, too, answering menu-related and personal trivia and graciously attending to us. My dining experiences at The Pineapple Grill left little to be desired. It’s an enchanting little restaurant with recipes for great food and success. MTW