Ka’ana Kitchen is Andaz Maui at Wailea’s signature restaurant. Situated at the heart of the property, the restaurant is airy and open with a large outdoor balcony seating area. Whether inside or out, every table has a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean. This view is particularly stunning at sunset.
During our stay at the fabulous property, Tom and I were fortunate to secure reservations for the Chef’s Table at Ka’ana Kitchen. This exclusive dining experience is limited to 4 guests each evening. Tom and I arrive at 6, and are seated at the prime location: The counter overlooking the open-air style kitchen and a view of the ocean just behind us. The Chef’s Table Tasting features a six-course customized menu with optional wine pairings selected by the restaurant’s sommelier.
Upon seating, Tom and I meet our server, Chris. We discussed our taste preferences and certain foods we need to avoid (raw fish and meats for Lora). Also, Tom expressed his interest in tasting different cocktails. Chris suggested a cocktail pairing with the meal instead of a more traditional wine accompaniment. This recommendation worked out splendidly for Tom with each cocktail (mostly tequila based per Tom’s request) complementing every course.
Our first course was a light and refreshing compressed watermelon salad, with feta, arugula, and candied walnuts. As we enjoyed this tasty beginning we became mesmerized by the workings of the kitchen. Everyone had their role and appear to work seamlessly with one another.
Next, I had black sesame soba noodles with charred maitake mushroom, peanuts, garlic, and a black sesame sauce. Tom was presented with ahi tataki with local tomatoes, fresh burrata, and a lilikoi sauce. I am not normally a noodle dish type of person. However, the black sesame noodles made me a convert. It was so incredibly flavorful that I really wanted to lick the plate. But I restrained myself. Tom enjoyed his tuna, but also loved the noodles.
As we dine on each course and during the time between courses, we get to chat with Rebecca who mans the seafood station directly in front of us. Rebecca is a young, up and coming chef from Vashon Island (located near my hometown in Washington State). She moved to Maui and couldn’t be happier with her position at Ka’ana Kitchen. Rebecca says that she receives so many opportunities to learn her craft and appreciates all of her responsibilities. Although every cook is trained to work all of the stations, each has their usual assignment and Rebecca loves to work with seafood.
Our third course, was coincidentally seafood. I had the grilled octopus salad served with chevre, watercress, and asparagus. Tom had the tastiest seared scallop that was incredibly tender and flavorful. My mouth is watering as I write about this.
We are half-way through our tasting and appreciate the slower pace of the dining experience. It allows our bellies to digest the well-prepared courses and gives us time to watch the kitchen in action. During this down time, we were able to meet Maui-born Executive Chef Isaac Bancaco who overseas Ka’ana Kitchen. We learn that the restaurant features farm and sea to table cuisine. Chef Isaac is known for his innovative use of local ingredients. Tom and I we are highly impressed with his team and cuisine. As guests, we can see the pride that goes into the preparation and presentation of each dish.
Next, we were served another delicious seafood course prepared by our new friend, Rebecca. I had the “catch of the day”. This was opa, with a side of grilled vegetables and sesame “candy”. Tom had fresh Kauai shrimp served on risotto with locally grown kula corn, saikyo miso, and XO sauce. Both were great. Tom’s was particularly rich, but it’s ok to splurge… we are on vacation!
Our final savory dish was wagyu strip loin served with dandelion greens, fig jam, and pickled figs. The meat was perfectly tender and all of the flavors merged to create the perfect bite. Although we were quite full, there’s always room for dessert. And the dessert we had was a medley of decadent delights: a coconut cake sundae, chocolate torte with lilikoi sauce, and pineapple upside down cake.
As we finished our last bite of dessert and final sip of a digestif, we realize that we are one of the final diners at the restaurant. The Chef’s Table experience is a full evening event that delighted all of our senses. The meal was incredible, enabling us to experience different ingredients and flavors of Maui. Chef Isaac and his team are inventive with their plates and cocktails. And the hospitality Tom and I received by everyone, especially from Chris and Rebecca, is particularly noteworthy. We cannot think of a better way to tour the culinary delights of the island, than by enjoying the Chef’s Table at Ka’ana Kitchen!
The next time you find yourself heading to Maui, be sure to make a reservation to dine at the Chef’s Table at Ka’ana Kitchen. Space is limited to 4 each evening and you won’t want to be disappointed by not planning ahead of time. Also, arrive with an empty stomach. Over the course of 3+ hours, you will dine on 6 delicious and substantial courses. We recommend you and your partner sharing different dishes so that you actually get to try more than 6 different plates!
We can help you plan that next amazing culinary journey! Contact us for details.