Pineapple Grill is one of those great spots along the Bay Course in Kapalua–amazing views, terrific Hawaiian regional cuisine and a long list of fans and regulars from the upper Northwest side. It’s the perfect combination of casual and fancy that locals love for everything from brunch through dinner. They’ve been there eight years, but recently decided to launch a new bar menu with cocktails inspired by mixologist Chandra Lam Lucariello and pupus by Chef De Cuisine Aaron Palone.
“Our bar is the perfect place to wind down a busy week,” says Chris Kaiwi, Pineapple Grill’s managing partner. “Have fun while you enjoy our entertainment, drink cocktails or wine by the glass and try the pupus. We have air conditioned comfort around our black marble bar with four HD TVs. The open air covered lanai is great to relax with friends and visitors. The new creative drinks and food are going to wow you.”
The wow factor is high when you look at the their new “8 after 8” promotion. That’s eight cocktails, eight wines and eight pupus to choose from, and everything costs just $8 each. The combinations are endless but they’re only available from Thursday to Saturday in the Pineapple Grill bar or on their lanai, which are easily some of the best seats in the house.
I started with the lip smacking Strawberry Lemonade, which was juicy and well balanced–you might say these go down too easy.
“Yeah, the Strawberry Lemonade looks as good as it tastes,” bartender Cameron Pickar told me. “I make it with fresh strawberry puree, balsamic vinegar, black pepper, lemon juice and Ketel One Citroen, served in a glass with ice. There are lots of new drinks on the new cocktail menu to try, but something for everyone, for sure.”
Other cocktails are just as pleasing. The Dickel 12 year in the Ginger Rogers is going please whiskey lovers with a little lemon and honey. The timeless connection with thyme and gin is exemplified with the Thyme to Tanqueray but this version is special with Aperol, orgeat and orange juice. The Lychee Martini is light and sweet with lychee puree, Ketel One Citroen and yuzu citrus.
The pupus on the new menu are stunning, and all display a bit of the regional cuisine that has made Pineapple Grill famous. The manapua-like hoisin glazed pork belly buns were sensational and possibly my favorite. They’re three open-faced, steamed buns that are packed with glazed pork belly and topped with julienne carrots and cucumber. It all adds up to a perfect combination of texture and flavor. The dish is served with a bucket of French fries, too. Other pupus and sides include the truffle mac and cheese, onion rings and crispy Brussels sprouts with pork belly.
The Asian crab guacamole was special, too, and served with fried won ton chips for a twist on the usual chips and salsa affair. The caprese of fresh mozzarella and local baby tomato is served in a martini glass with mac nut pesto and li hing radish. Furikake calamari, Blue crab asparagus sushi and butter lettuce cups stuffed with pork hash and shiitake were also tempting. You might need to bring in enough people to try one of each.
What’s more, the Pineapple Grill has live entertainment at the bar. On Thursdays, catch Fulton Toshombe, Fridays have Danyel Alana and on Saturdays Alika Nako’oka and Eddie Sebala provide the sweet tunes while you sip and work up an appetite.
The Pineapple Grill is already known for their Monday night special–a three-course dinner for two, including a bottle of wine, for $120. The wine selection by Wine Director Tony Guerrero is presented table-side by your server, and you get your own selections at every course as well.
First course is starters–from soup to greens. Chef Palone’s nightly seafood prep (grilled Mahi on the evening I visited) with purple sweet potato and baby bok choy with a buerre blanc sauce, came highly recommended. I also tried their hand-cut flat pasta with baby tomato, fresh mozzarella and grilled chicken, which was a perfect summer pasta dish that we can eat year-round on Maui. Braised short ribs and free range chicken are other options, too.
The three courses end with a choice of sweet treats including tropical sorbet, Roselani ice cream or Palone’s bread pudding.
200 Kapalua Dr.
Photo: Sean M. Hower