Maui Sunset Dining: Humuhumu Restaurant and Bar
When luxury baby boomer travelers make their way to the island of Maui, one of the top items on their list of things to do is a romantic sunset dining experience.
During our 10-day whirlwind tour of Maui, we were out experiencing some of the best sunset dining experiences that Maui has to offer. Let me just say from the outset, the Humuhumu restaurant was one of our favorite Maui sunset dining experiences.
The Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (Humuhumu for short) is located inside the AAA Four-Diamond Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, in the posh resort town of Wailea on the southwest shore of Maui.
Named after Hawaii’s state fish, the romantic restaurant is set on a million-gallon saltwater lagoon filled with tropical fish, and because of its stunning sunset views, is a fairly frequent repeat winner of “best table for two” and “most romantic table” by island publications.
Chef Mike Lofaro, a former protegé of Michael Mina, is in the kitchen and we can’t wait to share with you our remarkable sunset dining experience.
To start off our gastro-journey, we started the evening with a delicious Lilikoi Bellini. Looks inviting …. doesn’t it?
You know, growing up in a small Midwestern town, the idea of eating raw fish was not even a part of our consciousness. When we would catch a pail full of bluegills, perch, sunfish, and rock bass, we all looked forward to pan-frying those babies, not eating them raw.
Later in life, as our travels exposed us to different cultural cuisines, we found that we had a great appreciation of fresh raw fish. And now we find that when we’re in the Pacific islands, the antennas of our reticular activators are high in the air looking for great raw fish opportunities.
Gleefully, Humuhumu has a Raw Bar section on their menu, and we started out with Kampachi Poke (cilantro, avocado puree, smoked ponzu). Kampachi is native to the Hawaiian waters and is a close relative of the Yellowtail, Hiramasa and Amberjack. Like tuna, the flesh is thick and dense and is perfect for raw fish dishes.
I’ve been staring at my computer screen for nearly a five minutes trying to decide how to best describe the unbelievable flavors that we experienced in this dish. Let me just say that this dish took our taste buds to a place they have never been before, and they liked it … a LOT! Simply amazing!
Now, our next dish was Hawaiian Ahi Tartare (perilla leaf, soft herbs, green onion, toasted cumin). Carol and I have developed a deep, and lasting romance with ahi tartare. We seek it out whenever we’re with a renown chef. Kudos to Chef Lofaro! Even though we’ve enjoyed this dish numerous times over the years, the flavors found here were simply stunning.
You know, we could have completed our meal with these two dishes and walked out completely dazzled. However, we suspected that Chef Lofaro had more tricks up his sleeves, and we wanted more!
Next, from the Pupus menu, was Seared Day Boat Scallops (chrispy parsnip potato cake, citrus segments, basil blossoms). For heaven’s sake, is there no end to the magical places our palate was going to journey this day?
Look at that … don’t you want a delicious bite? Come on, you know you do!
Oh, lest I forget the beautiful sunset, here is what we were admiring whilst we sipped our wine in anticipation of our main entrées.
Imagine romantic music playing throughout the restaurant, palm trees swaying in the tropical breezes, and tiki torches prepared to light the way once the sun plops into the ocean.
Carol, for her entrée, picked Seared Ahi Loin (foie gras dumpling, stir fry mushrooms, snow peas, pho inspired broth).
Our photograph says it all, doesn’t it? Oh how we love seared ahi, and oh how we loved Chef Lofaro’s interpretation.
For my entrée, we endured a little mental arm wrestling with our waitress. She strongly suggested that I enjoy Chef Lofaro’s rack of lamb. I protested. I figured, why have lamb on Maui. I can get lamb anywhere.
Thankfully, she persisted, and my eyes rolled back in my head with glee as I enjoyed Brioché and LemonGrass Crusted Rack of Domestic Lamb (asian ratatouille, black bean sauce, asparagus).
Wow! Best rack of lamb…ever!
Let me bring you up to speed on the sunset. I captured this photograph as we were enjoying our main entrées. Isn’t that stunningly beautiful?
With full bellies, it was time to communicate to our brains that the evening’s dining experience was ending with a little decaf and sugar.
Carol ordered her customary decaf coffee, Hawaiian coffee of course, while I ordered my trusty double-decaf espresso.
And then came, Humu Hula Pie (Layers of Lappert’s Macadamia Nut and Kona Coffee Ice Cream on an Oreo Cookie Crust, drizzled with Kahlua Chocolate Sauce and Macadamia Nut Crunch Topped with a Chocolate Tiki).
Oh my sweet God in heaven, thank you for creating such wonderful things for our palates to enjoy! Wow! Wow! Wow!
Well …. I told you at the beginning of our article that this was one of our favorite sunset dining experiences on the island of Maui. Can you see why?
A beautiful setting, fabulous cuisine by a very talented chef, and my beautiful bride of 27 years across the table from me. It just doesn’t get much better than this!
When you visit Maui, we highly recommend a dining experience at the Humuhumu Restaurant. You’ll be glad you did! We promise!
Link: Humuhumu Restaurant
Disclosure: our wonderful dining experience was provided by the kind folks at The Humuhumu Restaurant, and our Maui press trip was provided by the Maui Convention and Visitors Bureau. Thanks!
Photography by David A. Porter