Our second island on this cruise was Maui where we visited STAR NOODLE (www.starnoodle.com) in the city of Lahaina. We knew of Star Noodle as their chef Sheldon had been on Top Chef a couple of seasons ago. While he made it to the finals, he didn't win, but we loved his cooking ideas and decided to visit. Upon arrival, we discovered that he had left and opened a new place down the coast, but the menu still had many of his dishes and influence as he opened the place.
There were many folks waiting outside, but we were told the wait would be only 15 minutes. I suggest you call ahead to try and reserve which I believe can be done if you are "on the way." We were finally seated over 25 minutes later and while the food is definitely worth the wait the serving system is erratic at best when the place is so full. Our server Charlotte gave us many ideas and Sam smelled his first plumeria flower as she sported several in her hair! it's my favorite aroma in Hawai'i. We could not resist the special TUNA SHOULDER served raw with a spicy mayo sauce, Maui Onion, Kimchi, Takuan (pickled daikon) over rice with a lotus chip. Samuel adored the Steamed PORK BUNS which are served like an open face sandwich with Duroc Pressed Pork, Hoisin, Pickled Shitakes & Cucumber with extra hoisin and chinese mustard on the side.
Will adored his Maui Brewing Company Bikini Blonde lager while I sipped at my flight of sakes which included:
Gekkeikan Zipang sparkling
Horin Gekkeikan which was smooth and divine-the best of the five
Gekkeikan Black and Gold which was also very good
Gekkeikan unfiltered Nigori
and a very sweet Plum wine (for dessert)
Even people who despise salads would adore the POHOLE Salad of Hana Fiddlehead Ferns, Maui Onion, Ebi (dried shrimp and cuttlefish), Kombu(dried seaweed) with Sesame Dressing.
Of course, the noodles are what many come for and we chose two very different noodle dishes from the long list:
GARLIC NOODLES were a huge hit with Sam loaded with fried and fresh garlic, Dashi and Green Onion
LAHAINA FRIED SOUP had wide thick Fat Chow Funn (noodles) with ground pork and bean sprouts.
Our final treat was the TEMPURA SHRIMP featuring two huge juicy Indonesian prawns (I had only had these 5 inch long shrimp once before decades ago in Hawai'i) battered and deep fried to a crisp with a Faux'nagi Sauce (this is a veggie take on unagi or eel sauce) with Garlic Aioli and Micro Greens.
As it took so long for everything to arrive we were going to skip dessert, but Charlotte had been so upset with the kitchen she brought out a complimentary MANGO PUDDING with Senbei and Lumpia Crisp (think Asian soda cracker) which was okay but won no awards.
We would go back there for sure, but I want to find Chef Sheldon on our next visit to Maui!