Eat Me: Restaurant Raku at the Makena Beach Resort in Wailea
By Kristin Hashimot0
If you remember the Maui Prince Hotel in Wailea, you might have also had the good insight to dine at the hotel’s Japanese restaurant, Hakone. With the passage of time, hotel changes, and restaurant revamps, the Maui Prince has become the Makena Beach Resort, and Hakone is Restaurant Raku.
Traditional Japanese dishes are re-interpreted in a trendy fusion style. Purists for Japanese food will still find merit in the plethora of dishes available. Fresh fish, sushi, tempura, seaweed salads, miso soup, kabocha (pumpkin), udon, country style oden, katsu, and other traditional staples of Japanese fare, are available in abundance.
The sake steamed clams are oh so delicately flavored and just delicious. Their miso butterfish is very well regarded; the giant shrimp tempura makes a statement and the snap and eat crab legs are…well, its crab. It’s good.
Seriously, if you’ve been craving something real Japanese-y, and feel a little tug of distress at its sometimes, perceived lack on Maui, check out Restaurant Raku. “Good” Japanese food depends on the individual’s palate. However, everyone can agree that fresh is a necessity, that fish should be the highlight of traditional sushi, and tempura should be light and crisp, with that perfect textural bite of something slightly more substantive than air.
Japanese food purists will have a litany of other requirements for “good” Japanese food, and probably feel disappointment as a physical pain when they’ve unluckily placed something sub-par in their mouth. Yet Raku will satisfy the senses and hunger pangs of purists and regular Joe’s and Jane’s.
For $50 per person, Saturday nights turn into a brief getaway overseas to Japan. Sample, gorge and Raku (enjoy in Japanese). In the month of June, Raku offers a four course pre-fixe menu for $38 per person on Wednesday through Saturday nights. This menu consists of: seafood marinade salad, clam and octopus, miso soup, black cod with sweet sour sauce and kobachaya (pumpkin) pudding.
The restaurant hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Make reservations. Dress is resort casual. Leave the rubber slippahs at home. For more details and full menus, visit www.makenaresortmaui.com.