The Waterfront Restaurant Now Offers Lunch

September 14, 2012, 4:14 PM HST · Updated September 17, 3:42 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

Lumpia: Waterfront Restaurant

The Spring Rolls (or Lumpia, depending upon from which you hail) were excellent. Photo by Vanessa Wolf.

As of last week, the Waterfront Seafood Restaurant in Ma’alaea now offers lunch service from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.

The location is beautiful, with spectacular views of the harbor. It offers a great place to take in a quick meal or longer dinner (served from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. nightly)

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The Kalua Pork Spring Rolls ($13) tasted very fresh and were a big hit. Filled with Napa cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery, and the namesake slow roasted pork, each bite was packed with a variety of tastes and textures. The spring roll wrapper was perfectly crisp, but still allowed the fresh vegetable flavor to shine through. The three large spring rolls (cut in half) were accompanied by a well-executed sweet chili sauce.

Chilled and Grilled Shrimp and Scallops: Waterfront

The Waterfront’s Chilled and Grilled Shrimp and Scallops. Photo by Vanessa Wolf.

The Chilled and Grilled Shrimp and Scallop Skewers ($14) arrived on a massive bed of undressed lettuce and sprouts. The cucumber aioli had a nice, light lemony flavor that didn’t compete with the extremely mild shrimp and scallop pieces. Although billed as grilled, there wasn’t much discernable smoke flavor. All in all, they were good, but not memorable.

The Four Coconut Shrimp ($15) came atop a bed of (undressed, yet again) greens and were accompanied by a hearty coconut milk peanut sauce. The shrimp were a bit of a mirage, appearing gigantic, but coated in a batter so thick that the first bite was nothing but. The net was something akin to a small shrimp dipped in funnel cake batter and coconut and fried up.

Coconut Shrimp: Waterfront

The Coconut Shrimp. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

It was around this point that it seemed that perhaps the pairings were a little off. The extremely mild shrimp and scallop skewers would have benefitted from the assertiveness of the peanut sauce, whereas the fried shrimp’s dense batter may have stood up to the sweet chili flavor. The lumpia were plain, old excellent; but a traditional Thai dipping sauce – a thin, garlicky, vinegar-based condiment – would work wonderfully there. The peanut sauce was put to good use, however, and applied to the many greens found  decorating the varying plates.

Next up was the Lomi Lomi Wild Salmon Martini ($12), which seemed to be made with smoked salmon. The flavor was rather different than what one might anticipate from traditional lomi lomi. The Waterfront rendition featured small flakes of salmon rather than the usual cubes: not bad, but a bit fishy. It was served in a martini glass as advertised…but one you might expect at a child’s tea party, holding maybe four ounces at the most. To our taste, the leftover assertively smoked salmon-y juice was the best part.

"Lomi Lomi" sort of: Waterfront

The Lomi Lomi Wild Salmon Martini is probably not what you’re expecting. Photo by Vanessa Wolf

The meal rounded out with the Slider Trio Sandwich ($13). The Waterfront offers a varying selection daily. We opted for the BBQ pork, which was moist and delicious. It was reminiscent of the excellent pork found in the spring rolls. The three sliders were served on buttered, grilled (OK, maybe a little charred) buns. The ratio of bun to pork was a bit overwhelming, but leaving the top bun off balanced it out. The sliders come with pickles, onions, and tomato on the side and felt like one of the better values to be had.

In addition, the Waterfront Restaurant is now offering a happy hour at the bar from 2 p.m.-6 p.m., and many appetizers are half price. Those on a budget may opt to sample the menu that way or stop in before your dinner reservation and get warmed up for one of their famous fish preparations to come.

The BBQ Pork Slider Trio du jour. 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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