The Market by Capsiche: Gourmet To Go
Vanessa Wolf is a former head chef. She offers her frank assessments in the interests of honesty and improving Maui’s culinary scene.
By Vanessa Wolf
The Market by Capische (as it’s called on the signage – other sources give it other appellations, but we’ll let those slide) is, as the name implies, a market.
However, it’s more a shop of the ‘$100 picnic’ ilk than a place for area residents to grab some basic staples on the way home… well, unless your family’s staples tend to include sous vide vacuum packed meals, fresh pastas and handcrafted cheeses.
All told, it’s a very attractive, posh space: a long hallway lined with gourmet goodies, beckons you toward the inviting and well-lit deli in the rear.
One glance at the large menu board across the back wall confirms what we’ve all long suspected: kale is the new black.
And the new 40.
And, in due course, in plentiful supply at The Market.
May as well show up at the party while it’s still raging and get your fill with the Kale Salad ($10)
Described as being adorned with figs, goat cheese, mac nuts and mustard vinaigrette, they had us at “figs.”
In fact – moment of truth – we ordered this salad because of the purple fruit.
The 30 minutes we spent waiting for our meal was consumed in part imagining what form the figs might take: Freshly sliced? Dried? Poached? Roasted?
This mental buildup only exacerbated our disappointment at finding a fistful of golden raisins in their place.
What’s the difference between regular raisins and golden raisins?
Even the doughy innards of a Fig Newton cookie plopped on top might have softened the blow.
With only five ingredients to the dish and plenty of time dedicated to making it, perhaps an ingredient substitution might be a good thing to run by the customer (or to change out on the chalkboard menu)?
Otherwise, the salad was quite satisfying: fresh, bright, and marked by that characteristic “did you eat compost earlier?” breath only raw kale can impart.
All told, the salad was almost well balanced, as the subtle raisins didn’t quite pack enough sweetness to stand up to the salty goat cheese.
Confirm figs are actually available, and we predict this is a winner.
To market, to market, to buy a fat pig,
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
Blame the Mother Goose rhyme stuck in our head since spotting the swine drawn on the menu board, but we couldn’t resist trying the Ham and Cheese version of the 3 Little Pigs ($12) on our next visit.
Considering The Market bakes much (all?) of its own bread, we weren’t expecting a diminutive bite from a Panini press so much as a French baguette jambon beurre fromage– a cold ham, cheese and butter dealio you might pick up on the run while in Paris.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s a perfectly serviceable ham and cheese panino as delivered, and the listed description matched what was promised: Ham. Cheese. Bread. Fini.
If you prefer to keep it simple, this one’s for you.
Although there is someone standing by the deli ready to tap your order into an iPad and always at least two chefs working in the kitchen, food turnaround is slow. Although The Market was never particularly busy during our visits, the food always took at least half an hour to appear.
Granted, The Market is quite new and arguably this is one of the growing pains they’ll soon work out. At the same time, plan accordingly when dropping by for a “quick” bite.
Similarly, this is pretty much a to-go enterprise. Although there are a couple tiny tables outside in the strip mall setting, plan to take your treats with you.
On our third and final visit, we ordered up a Lulu’s Lemon ($10) with Maui avocado, tahini, micro-greens, and Meyer lemon on a toasted sprouted grain wrap.
Sounds pretty magical, doesn’t it?
We wouldn’t quite know as, sadly, minor disappointment once again reigned.
Oh Avocado, where art thou?
Not on our wrap.
Granted, the chef didn’t leave us completely high and dry, but substituted grilled tofu instead.
This wasn’t a problem for us – beyond the initial tears – but not everyone eats soy and (despite some very attractive grill marks) it didn’t add much to the mix. Again, an update to the chalk menu or a warning about the substitution might have been nice.
As delivered, the wrap is akin to eating a salad in a tortilla.
We loved the hearty, creamy tahini dressing, which helped balance the spinach, lettuce and heavy sprout flavor. The tofu didn’t particularly add or detract, and we couldn’t help but miss the richness avocado would have added, but we found this light and satisfying fare nonetheless.
Moreover, knowing the skill and caliber of the chefs behind this venture, we have no doubt such future “surprises” are the kinds of things they’ll straighten out soon.
Happily, we still had one more sandwich coming our way, and the Where Reuben Been All My Life ($10) came through.
If blindfolded and given three chances to name the sandwich in your month, “Rueben” probably won’t occur to you, but that’s all right: it’s a great sandwich by any name.
High quality pastrami, pungent “euphoria” cheese and finely chopped kale “slaw” on dense crusty bread all combine in a satisfying and savory mix.
Where have you been all my life, indeed.
The Market by Capische is located at 10 Wailea Gateway Place in Kihei. They are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.