With two mainland visitors in tow I headed down, on their last night here, to Longhi’s Wailea for a sumptuous and nearly 4 hour long dining extravaganza! As luck, a regular companion in my “restaurant” life, would have it, we were ferried over to the furthest corner table on the balcony on what proved to be one of Maui’s many perfectly balmy evenings. At the suggestion of manager Mike we ordered up a bottle of Scherrer’s Cabernet Sauvignon and after a completely delightful tasting asked that a second be opened and decanted so that it might breathe while we started in on the menu(s)…
One can’t hope for a long, slow dining experience if you read through the whole menu and order everything all at once, so, with our waitress’s permission, we set about to do just the opposite and read only the appetizers section and shelved the menus until well after our first orders had come and gone. Ahi Sashimi platter, with 6 slices of perfect Ahi [2 apiece], a pair of potato crusted crab cakes [a bit harder to divvy up by 3] and a Lobster Cannelloni smothered in a parmesan cream sauce. The later was my choice and of the three, sadly the least successful. Don’t get me wrong, it was really delicious, but the lobster [wrapped in a pasta sheet and steamed I believe] was a bit overwhelmed by the parmesan. I am inclined to think that there is no such thing as too much parmesan but indeed the lobster was a bit lost in it…. The crab cakes were playfully encrusted with hand rolled potato sticks –for lack of a better term, and looked like a punk-rocker married a sea urchin… The crab flavor was totally up front and 2 delicate sauces, one a light Dijon cream sauce and the other a roasted red pepper sauce along with the crunch of the potato made this the front runner so far… note: I had every intention of photographing this entire epic meal, but in truth got a little exited when the other courses arrived and just forgot to reach for my camera instead of the fork. So, alas, there are only pictures this time, of the appetizers.
After much convivial chat and a touch of flirting with the waitress from the one ‘single’ mainlander, we returned to the menu to read the salad section and make some decisions. That wasn’t too hard as the waitress held no punches in her strong recommendation that the Belgian Endive was not to be missed. She was spot on too! On a big round plate arrived enough for all three of us to each have 3 or 4 -the long young endives, a member of the chicory family, was presented with caramelized macadamia nuts sprinkled with Italian gorgonzola cheese and resting in a pool of honey-scallion-mint vinaigrette. Think about that last bit, honey meets scallion meets mint all in a vinaigrette, OMG, that alone made me want to lick the plate! The waitress is right, don’t go to Longhi’s without ordering the Belgian Endive salad! We enjoyed a Longhi’s spin on a Caesar billed as the LONGHI LONGHI LONGHI SALAD, were it not for the Belgian competition that would have earned much more space here, it was very good… but the Belgians took home the GOLD in Salad this time.
Time to read again and the entree section of the menu –with the separate full page of pasta selections, was the hardest to navigate. We ordered a Surf and Turf, a Filet Mignon with Béarnaise and, are you sitting down? a grilled Veal Porterhouse. It was, by far, the largest piece of veal any of us –waitress included, had ever seen and was, I kid you not, about 2” thick! All of us were a bit overwhelmed by it. It was served with a shitake mushroom sauce made with both sweet and dry Marsala wines. The sauce was truly outstanding and the mushrooms soft and still full of Shitake flavor -not overwhelmed but enhanced by the Marsala. The meat, as tender as anything we’ve tasted, was paired beautifully in the wine and mushroom sauce and equally as delicious as it was tender. The three plates were passed every few minutes and, perhaps to our surprise, ended our dining for the evening. We had added to the mashed potatoes and beans on the plates a side of asparagus and another of Sicilian style cauliflower –with garlic, capers, olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes. It was indeed enough to require ‘doggy bags’.
The second bottle of wine was becoming a sliver of red in the bottom of the decanter, the plates sat, un-emptied towards the center of the table and waitress saw her cue to tease us about having eyes bigger than our stomachs. More I think out of a sense of obligation than desire we all read through the desert menu and closed the final menu of the evening with a request for one Tuaca, an Italian brandy laced with citrus and vanilla, which neither of my companions had ever tried. As I forewarned them, they confessed to a new favorite end-of-the-meal liquor. The glass was soon emptied and our ‘take-aways’ arrived with the only part of the meal I didn’t intentionally order -a check. What a pleasure to dine with these two affable fellows and have only a third of the bill to settle! It was indeed a lovely evening and the only unpleasant part of the entire event lay in the 40 minute ride back up to Kula… but I wouldn’t change a minute of any of it!
Food for Thought