Even on Maui, technology and urban sprawl have permeated almost every facet of our lives. I get jittery if I’m away from my cell phone for too long, compulsively check my e-mail and instead of appreciating Maui’s natural beauty, I grumble about the lack of adequate parking. However, this ultra-caffeinated attitude seems to have passed Sheik’s by.
At Sheik’s you’ll find remnants of a picturesque Old Maui in the adjoined liquor store, the nearby old-time barber shop and bakery, and even in the quiet lull of the only-two-lane traffic, outside. If you want further proof that Sheik’s is the restaurant time forgot, you’ll be quickly reminded when you realize you have to pay in cash—Sheik’s doesn’t accept credit or even check.
Sheik’s is everything a diner should be. There are loyal customers who have been patronizing the establishment for years; these are the regulars who can tell you about a time on Maui when all the stores closed promptly at 5:00pm. This is the kind of restaurant where history hangs heavy in the air. History, by the way, smells faintly of old cigarettes and fresh coffee.
Just because Sheik’s has an old-time feel, doesn’t mean it skips out on flavor. The hot roast pork sandwich is a welcomed respite from the low-carb, low-fat, low-taste diet everyone is so accustomed to. The roast pork is placed between two slices of white bread, and then drenched in gravy. Along with the sandwich, this dish is served with steaming hot mashed potatoes. Another star on the menu would be the deluxe cheeseburger. A popular trend in cuisine is to take a classic dish and its ingredients, and then to modify them beyond recognition. If you don’t believe me, just watch 30 minutes of the Food Network. At Sheik’s, this is not the case. The cheeseburger is served hot, the cheese readily melting into the burger. The vegetables are still crisp, and more importantly, still wholly resemble vegetables.
It would be a shame, nay an outright tragedy, to dine at Sheik’s without ever tasting the fried chicken plate. Every bite of fried chicken is a taste explosion. Moreover, every bite of fried chicken is accompanied with the satisfying crunch of a golden brown exterior. I think the fried chicken plate is served with rice and macaroni salad, but my taste buds were too busy dying and going to heaven to even notice.
If you don’t want to enjoy a full meal, Sheik’s offers other alternatives. One of those would be the orange freeze. The orange freeze tastes like childhood summers, the kind where you still thought you had all the time to do all the nothing that you wanted. If you want to reminisce about childhood summers even more, I’d recommend the grilled cheese sandwich. These are grilled cheese sandwiches done right, like the ones your mom used to make, before realizing you’d be home ALL summer. MTW