2010 Hale Aina Awards
Our readers named the best restaurants in the Islands.
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Best Wine Program, Silver Award
James Beard award-winner George Mavrothalassitis changes up his menus seasonally, but no matter what he’s whipped up, it’s sure to dazzle the diners at Chef Mavro. It’s not unheard of for otherwise demure diners to erupt in a fork duel over the last bite of Manchego cheese croquette or truffled cauliflower purée. The restaurant is equally respected for its wine-pairing expertise, won a bronze for Best Service, and was a finalist for both Best Oahu Restaurant and Best Restaurant for Romance.
“We want our guests’ experience to be all-encompassing, from the moment they call for a reservation until they pull out of the parking lot,” says Todd Ashline, the restaurant’s director/sommelier. He says the restaurant has strived to be “discreet and seamless” with wine service, but that the wine stewards will gladly discuss the wine with interested diners.
The majority of patrons choose the wine pairings with the tasting menus, which are four, six or 11 courses. For some dishes, Ashline also selects a “sommelier rare wine selection,” with harder-to-find offerings such as a 2006 Marc Colin Saint Aubin. Yet he encourages people to swap items around to suit their tastes, rather than feeling locked in to the menu. “We’re a lot more flexible than people think—both with the menus and the wines.”
Best Maui Restaurant, Finalist
Speaking of wine, coenophiles sing the praises of Dining Room, at The Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele. “The majority of wines we offer are American and French, but we also feature wines from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia,” says director of food and beverage Anthony Freda. “We have 20-plus wines by the glass.”
Beyond the wine, Freda strives for “an exceptional level of service, well-thought-out food and a special ambiance with a warm, country estate feel to it.” There is also game on the menu, such as a lava-rock seared venison, pheasant, and duck for two, carved tableside. In the future, keep your eye out for a new cuisine twist, with more of a French countryside menu. Freda also recommends planning ahead on dessert: The classic chocolate soufflé is much enjoyed by many patrons but must be ordered with dinner in order to allow time for its preparation.
Related Link: See the full list of Hale Aina Award winners.