Monkeypod Kitchen – Superb Dining on Maui

Our plane was scheduled to arrive at 8pm into Maui and with the time zone differential (and the thin food offerings on Southwest), I knew my family would be hangry upon arrival. Hungry, grumpy and a bit angry is no way to start a vacation, so I was pleased to learn that Monkeypod Kitchen serves late into the evening.
And I was delighted when we arrived at 9pm for our reservation at the Wailea restaurant that we were in the middle of their second daily Happy Hour.
My whole team was quite peckish after the long flight, so we looked over the Monkeypod menu with extreme interest.
The handcrafted drinks were quite diverse. We settled on their signature Mai Tai as the lead beverage. The spun egg white foam was far tastier than it read on paper: kula organic silver and dark rums, lime, house-made macadamia nut orgeat, Bols orange curacao, honey-lilkoi foam.
More than ready for starters, we shared Kauai Shrimp & Hamakua Mushroom Potstickers. The improbable combination of mushroom and shrimp won the race among the starters.
The options among the entrees were many. Our server helped describe the various flavor profiles on offer, and guided us to Organic Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi (macadamia nut and panko crust, maui pineapple relish, organic brown rice, lemon beurre blanc), but the winner among the entrees was Certified Angus Ribeye Steak (with house-made chimichurri sauce). But wait, the Bulgogi Pork Tacos (handcrafted kimchee, jalapeños, asian pear, sriracha aioli, locally made corn tortillas) were a happy shock.

Mai Tai on the right, other tropical delights to the left.

Appetizer heaven.

Bulgogi Pork Tacos.

Always room for dessert.

We finally had time to look around the restaurant, and the casually elegant surf vibe melded nicely with the efficient service from the staff. We had various people delivering drinks, clearing plates and bringing our food. The restaurant’s unlikely location on the second floor of a strip mall belies its superb quality across all relevant criteria.
Having nearly recovered from the long flight from the mainland by the time dessert was presented, we opted for the coconut pie. I admit having been dubious about the selection, but after the first bite and the smiles around the table I knew we had chosen wisely.

Monkeypod Kitchen can be found in several places on the Hawaiian islands; more information here.

(food and drink images courtesy of @_ellies.belly)

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.