Tiffany’s Bar and Grill, the Best of Local Kine Food

September 7, 2012, 11:41 AM HST · Updated September 8, 1:19 PM
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Vanessa Wolf is a former head chef, previously working in Portland, Oregon. She offers her blunt assessments in the interests of honesty and improving Maui’s culinary scene.

By Vanessa Wolf

Tiffany's Bar and Grill

Tiffany’s Bar and Grill in Wailuku. Photo by Vanessa Wolf.

Five words come to your mind: I WISH I WAS DRUNK.

Not because the food is bad, but because it’s that good and – possibly, probably – even better with beer; lots of beer. Happily, Tiffany’s Bar and Grill in Wailuku can set you up there as well. In addition to the delicious and vast local style food offerings, they have PBR, Rolling Rock, Michelob Amber Bock and Michelob Ultra on draft for just $2.75 pint. $2.75 for a pint!? On Maui!? Falling in love was never easier.

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Then comes the food. The menu is gigantic: page after page of local and Asian-influenced offerings. Multiple visits still haven’t put a dent in it. One suspects everything is good, but certain items are definite standouts.

Chicken Wings: Tiffany's Bar and Grill

Tiffany’s Deep Fried Chicken Wings. Photo by Vanessa Wolf.

The Deep Fried Chicken Wings ($6.50) are fried to perfection: crispy on the outside with the meat still moist on the inside. The presentation is fairly unassuming with six battered, salted, and peppered wings hanging out on a pile of shredded cabbage. They are exactly as advertised, but perhaps a creamy dipping sauce on the side would make them even better.

Tiffany’s has perfected the House Cake Noodle ($12.95). House cake noodles – a local staple – are typically lightly boiled and drained Chinese egg noodles fried up like a hash brown and cut into 1” by 1” squares. The noodles themselves don’t have much flavor, so they are then topped (in this case) with carrots, mussels, broccoli, zucchini, shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, won bok or Napa cabbage, and bok Choy. The mixture is coated with soy and oyster sauce slurry that coats and contrasts with the crunch of the noodles and softens them a little as you eat. It’s simple but so delicious.

House cake noodle: Tiffany's Bar and Grill

Don’t miss the house cake noodle. Photo by Vanessa Wolf.

If you can handle the gaze of a batter-coated eyeball and the presence of a fin or two, the Deep Fried Yellow Corvina ($11.95) is not to be missed. Corvina, or Peruvian sea bass, has a light clean flavor and is not at all fishy. With a menu this vast, it’s impressive to see a whole fish (or two little ones in this case) fried so perfectly. Well-seasoned, rich, and unctuous: every bite is amazing.

The Honey Walnut Shrimp ($14.95) is standard Americanized Chinese fare. A mixture of mayonnaise and honey coat deep fried shrimp and somehow that works. Tiffany’s succeeds with this dish as well, and although the portion isn’t huge, it’s still worth a try. Inexplicably it arrives on a bed of romaine lettuce…but it makes the pictures a little prettier anyway.

Honey Walnut Shrimp: Tiffany's Bar and Grill

Sweet and savory honey walnut shrimp. Photo by Vanessa Wolf.

The Kim Chee Fried Rice ($7.95) is also quite good. The Kim Chee isn’t nearly as spicy as one might expect (or hope), but it can be dolled up with some sriracha or other hot sauce to your taste. Red, sticky and packed with flavor, it comes with a sunny side up egg on top.

The menu, again, is gargantuan and offers every local kine dish you could want. Oxtail Mein ($13.95), Loco Moco ($5.75), Bi Bim Bap ($8.25), Mochiko Chicken ($10.95) and even half a roast duck ($19.95) are available. Fussy eaters and kids can find Nachos ($7.50), Tonkatsu ($9.50), and chicken strips with fries ($8.50) in the mix. There are also a variety of lunch specials (available from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) in the $8 range.

Tiffany’s is in large part – as the name implies – a sports bar, but there’s a clean, homey atmosphere and a family-friendly vibe. It’s full of locals, yet welcoming and hospitable to visitors as well: kind of like a great Asian-food influenced diner where you can get drinks.

Deep fried fish: Tiffany's Bar and Grill

There’s no tricking your kids into thinking the fried corvina is chicken. Photo by Vanessa Wolf.

We welcome your feedback. Please let us know if you hear of any new restaurants opening or reopening, total menu overhauls, or simply know of a hidden treasure you want to share. Have a restaurant you want reviewed (or re-reviewed)? Drop us a line.

Dying to know how a certain dish is made so you can recreate it at home? Send in a request, and we will try to pry the secret out of the chef…and even take a run at cooking it up ourselves. Mahalo. [email protected]

 

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