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Blossoming Lotus, 4504 Kukui St., Kapaa, 808-822-7678.
Fresh is always best, and you can’t get much fresher than the Live Moo Shu. Don’t worry: It won’t arrive squirming on your plate (this restaurant is vegan), but while these moo shu ($12) taste “cooked,” they aren’t. The wrapping is made from pulverized coconut meat and a bit of banana that is heated in a dehydrator below 115 degrees — according to raw-food enthusiasts, the point where food enzymes begin to die. This sweet-chewy wrapper is packed with shiitake mushrooms and tender, but crisp slivers of carrots and cabbage, all marinated in sesame oil. A spicy-sweet hoisin sauce is served alongside that perfectly complements the Asian flavors of the filling. Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., dinner daily from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. www.blossominglotus.com.
The Live Moo Shu from Blossoming Lotus, which serves vegasn world fusion cuisine.
Photo courtesy of Blossoming Lotus
The Beach House Restaurant, 5022 Lawai Road, Koloa, 808-742-1424.
It becomes easier to take your eyes off the Beach House’s lovely ocean view when Macadamia Nut Crab Cakes are on your plate. The crab cakes ($12) are delicate, creamy and mashed potato-soft, encased in a crispy coating faintly flavored with macadamia nuts. They’re served with a tangy-sweet papaya and black bean salsa, which adds another intriguing contrast of textures, topped with pickled ginger. But the real star is the sauce: a light, sweet-tangy coconut-red-curry ginger beurre blanc that will have you reaching for the rolls to sop up every luscious drop. Pupu 5 to 6 p.m., dinner 6 to 10 p.m. www.the-beach-house.com.
The Hukilau Lanai, 530 Aleka Loop, Kapaa, 808-822-0600.
Variations of Adam’s Ahi Poke Nachos have been showing up on menus elsewhere, but we know it has its origins here, where Hukilau Lanai chef Adam Phelps first whipped it up for his own lunch. The foundation of these Island-style nachos ($11.95) is the poke, made from sashimi-grade ahi, finely chopped sweet onion and salty ogo. It’s then layered with crisp wonton chips, chunks of juicy tomato and creamy avocado, and sprinkled with crunchy tobiko. A mildly tangy wasabi cream sauce is drizzled over it all, creating a lighter, more refined and decidedly delectable version of nachos. Dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Closed Mondays.
Haliimaile General Store, 900 Haliimaile Rd., Haliimaile, (808) 572-2666.
Apparently, the most closely guarded secret in the Haliimaile General Store kitchen is chef Bev Gannon’s recipe for Bev’s “Famous” Crab Pizza ($9)—we’ve heard she’s sworn to only reveal the formula on her gravestone. Can’t say we blame her. The fresh-made, six-inch pizza crust comes heaped with a warm spread of melty, creamy, crabby, shmushy goodness. You wouldn’t want a recipe like that to fall into the wrong hands. Monday through Friday, lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m; Pupu 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., dinner nightly from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. www.bevgannonrestaurants.com/haliimaile.