pineapple grill at kapalua resort: new owner; new menu; same great dining experience

BLOG_PGrill_13I’m not a golfer, but I love golf clubhouse restaurants. I don’t know what it is that makes me fancy them so much. Maybe it’s the opportunity to immerse myself in a subculture with a language all its own (birdies, bogeys, and bunkers, anyone?). Or perhaps it’s that clubhouse restaurants are usually so gosh darned scenic. Whatever it is, one of my all-time favorite clubhouse restaurants is Pineapple Grill at Kapalua Resort, which overlooks the Bay Course and Tennis Garden, as well as the sparkling turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean.

In early June Troon, the world’s largest golf and hospitality management company, assumed management and operations of Pineapple Grill, formerly owned by Cohn Restaurant Group. Troon’s food and beverage division manages a huge number of restaurants located at golf resorts, private clubs, daily fee golf courses, and recreational facilities around the world. On Maui, Troon Golf also manages the Kapalua Plantation and Bay Courses, as well as the King Kamehameha Golf Club in Waikapu.

“The Troon food and beverage team is looking to enhance the restaurant and dining experiences at Pineapple Grill through procurement of the best quality products on the islands, utilizing local and sustainable products, implementation of world-class culinary techniques, and leveraging current trends in the industry,” says Carlos Acosta, corporate food & beverage director for Troon. “Our focus will be to continue the legacy of Pineapple Grill, build upon the restaurant’s success, and elevate the dining and culinary experience at Kapalua,” adds Mike Jones, general manager of Kapalua Golf & Tennis.

The Troon food and beverage team wisely retained Executive Chef Robert Barrera, and worked with him to identify and enhance the restaurant’s most popular items, while introducing new offerings. Having dined at Pineapple Grill several times in the past, Charles and I are eager to experience the new version of a tried-and-true favorite restaurant.

The views through the enormous picture windows at Pineapple Grill are simply exquisite. Set amidst the iconic Cook pines that characterize Kapalua Resort, and overlooking the 18th hole of the Bay Course, it just doesn’t get much better.

Pineapple Grill now features an all-day menu served from 11am to 8pm (starts at 12pm on Saturdays and Sundays). New additions to the menu include TroonFIT items, designated with a special logo, which will please guests looking for healthier options.

Our server this evening is Eddie, who suggests we begin our meal with the Buffalo Style Artichokes ($12). To accompany them, we make selections from the specialty cocktail menu. Charles has chosen the Lahaina Social Club (Old Lahaina Gold Rum, fresh lime sour, fresh mint, pineapple chunks, bitters, soda water, and simple syrup—$10), while I’m going with the Mango Margi-Tini (Sauza Gold, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice, and mango puree—$13).

Our cocktails nicely complement the artichokes, which are deep fried little morsels of deliciousness served with two different dipping sauces: blue cheese and buffalo. The artichokes are crazy good, the blue cheese sauce is rich and creamy, and hold onto your hat when you try the buffalo sauce because it’s red hot!

We decide to cool things off a bit with the Fresh Island Ceviche ($15), composed of mahi mahi, red onion, tomato, cucumber, avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, and fresh lime juice, and served with house tortilla chips. The first thing we notice is how nicely everything is diced to a uniform size. That’s not easy to do, and requires mighty impressive knife skills. But it sure makes it easier to scoop up with a chip. The second things we notice is how fresh and bright the ceviche tastes. This is what ceviche is supposed to be.

Next, we dive into the Maui Field Green salad ($12). It’s a lovely medley of fresh red and green lettuce leaves, garnished with shaved hearts of palm and soft herbs (parley and chives), and dressed with a delightful pineapple vinaigrette that’s light, tasty, and doesn’t overpower the greens.

Chef Robert stops by our table to check in with us. He asks if we’re interested in trying a few items we didn’t order, but that he’d like us to sample. Bring it on! Chef Robert has been with Pineapple Grill since 2014, originally as Chef de Cuisine. He was recently promoted to Executive Chef, and says he’s looking forward to taking the restaurant to the next level, and ensuring it continues to be recognized as one of the top dining establishments in Kapalua.

Blue Crab Cakes ($17) are brought to our table, along with a new item Chef is perfecting before adding it to the menu—Char Siu Pork Belly. The crab cakes have been seared to a luscious golden brown. They’re scrumptiously moist, and the flavor of the crab comes through nicely. I have to confess I’m not particularly a pork belly fan, but Chef Robert’s version makes me a convert. He marinated the belly for two days, then utilized the sous-vide cooking technique for 16 hours. It’s bathed in an Asian-style glaze that’s out of this world. Furikake rice and garlic broccoli round out this dish that’s sure to be a hit.

Chef also asks us to try his seafood risotto. A 6-ounce lobster tail rests atop a mound of uber-creamy risotto, along with sea bass, sautéed spinach, cremini mushrooms, and sherry-cream sauce. It’s positively swoon worthy!

Charles and I are pretty full by this time, but we bravely forge ahead to our entrees in the interest of food journalism. He has chosen the Duroc Pork Chop ($30), while I’m keeping it lighter with a TroonFIT selection—Grilled Mahi Mahi ($29). Both entrees offer generous portions. Charles’s pork chop is definitely man-sized. It’s tender and juicy, and served with caramelized Brussels sprouts, Granny Smith apples, and a tangy whole-grain mustard IPA gastrique. My mahi mahi has tantalizing grill marks, and is accompanied by an herbaceous salsa verde, and a mélange of olive oil-glazed asparagus chunks and zingy pickled cherry tomatoes.

While we’d love to sample Pineapple Grill’s desserts, both Charles and I are waving the white flag. If we had room, we’d try The One The Only Pineapple Upside Down Cake and the Mile High Liliko‘i Key Lime Pie (both ($12). Server Eddie says they’re both exquisite.

As part of the new re-launch, Pineapple Grill is now open for breakfast daily. Menu items include hearty selections such as the Jumbo Egg Sandwich ($14), Huevos Rancheros ($14), and Maui Cattle Company Half Pound Loco Moco ($15). Guests watching their waistlines will appreciate TroonFIT items like the Turkey and Egg White Omelet ($12).

Pineapple Grill has also rolled out an all-new Happy Hour menu, available from 2:30 to 5:30pm daily, featuring punch and cocktail specials ($6), draft beer selections ($6), red and white wine ($7), and an offering of ten different pupu selections priced under $10. Tempting munchies include Soft Pretzel Sticks with pimento cheese and Hawaiian sea salt ($7); Korean BBQ Tacos made with bulgogi beef, kimchi, and cilantro ($10); and Duck Confit Poutine composed of shredded duck confit, brown gravy, green onion, and fried egg ($10).

The best news is you don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy all the wonderful food and beverages at Pineapple Grill. You just have to be hungry.

–heidi pool

AT A GLANCE…

WHAT •

Pineapple Grill, featuring an innovative menu that includes the best quality products available in the Islands prepared with world-class culinary techniques.

WHERE •

Kapalua Resort, 200 Kapalua Drive, at the Bay Course.

WHEN •

Breakfast is served daily from 6:30 to 11am (till noon Saturday & Sunday); Happy Hour is 2:30 to 5:30pm daily; and the all-day menu is available daily from 11am to 8pm (from 12pm Saturday & Sunday).

HOW •

Walk-ins welcome. For reservations: 669-9600; pineapplegrillmaui.com.

 

 

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