By Nadine Kam
Nadine Kam photos
Outside Amasia, Alan Wong's new restaurant in the Grand Wailea Resort
Timing was great for being on Maui for the recent Maui Onion Festival May 4 and 5. While there, I was staying at the Marriott Ocean Club Kaanapali Beach, near festival headquarters at Whalers Village, but made the evening drive to the Grand Wailea to visit Alan Wong's newly open Amasia restaurant.
The site is gorgeous, in the former Kincha restaurant, that makes it feel as if you've been transported to Japan. It's a teahouse built over a koi pond. Inside, shoji doors have been removed to make it appear more global in keeping with Wong's globe-trotting theme.
These days, with restaurants shrinking and becoming cramped, I really appreciated the spaciousness of it. I felt like I had room to relax, breathe and talk, which really added to the enjoyment of the experience. Our server said the environment makes it nice to come to work each day.
It's soft opening was April 24, and a grand opening celebration will take place May 25.
Inside, walkways over the pond connect different areas of the restaurant, and tatami rooms offer semi-privacy for larger parties.
Here are some photos of dishes covered in my review of May 9:
"Spong" (Spam + Wong), prepared Vietnamese-style in a dish of "Spong Mi," with tortilla in place of baguette. ($9 as of 5.5.12)
In the foreground is Kona kampachi tiradito with Hanaoka Farms lilikoi sauce, dotted with fresh corn kernels and roasted corn, and cubes of Okinawan sweet potato, with hot pepper and cilantro atop the fish. This dish was on the raw menu, at $15. Delicious soy-braised shortribs with eye-opening kochujang sauce ($15.)
Crispy oysters had to be eaten fast because they lost their crisp quickly ($16), served with a thin sambal emulsion.
Ika maki roll was one of the most novel items on the sushi menu, rolled in Sudachi lime rice, with the flavors of palusami from a coconut milk luau sauce, luau cube and powdered coconut at front left.
A trio of chicken meatballs served in a coconut-ginger-lemongrass broth, $11.
Richard Ha's whole tomato salad, $11, with li hing mui dressing. This was one large, perfect tomato!
Waialua Estate Chocolate pudding, topped with sesame tuille.
Here are a couple of pro photos, courtesy of Amasia:
Garlic-pepper Dungeness crab.
Maui Cattle Co. ribeye with Hamakua mushrooms and Hawaiian chili pepper butter.