Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Urban Eats @ Monkeypod Kitchen, Wailea

Monkeypod Kitchen, is a pub-style eatery with a passion for regional and sustainable cuisine. I stopped in for dinner and the first thing that impressed me was the fun modern décor. 

The restaurant has a very cool vibe with surfboards hanging from the ceiling and colourful posters on the walls, but it's done in a stylish way so that it's sophisticated at the same time. And, it's genuinely family-friendly (I saw an actual baby dining with her parents), which isn't always the case in trendy upscale restaurants.

I had a major pig-out session here, sampling several of the delectable menu items. I started off with appys (or pu pus, as Hawaiians call them) - the crispy rock shrimp and calamari, and the pumpkin patch ravioli. The shrimp and calamari were delightfully crispy and seasoned just right. The ravioli were flavourful and melted in your mouth. Next came the roasted butternut squash wood-fired pizza. Yes, that's right, I said pizza. 

I'd never heard of squash on a pizza before so I wanted to try it. I thought it was going to be really heavy and potentially soggy, but it was neither. The squash was cut small, and together with pine nuts and a light white sauce, it was tasty and fulfilling. That's when I realized the menu was chockfull of great vegetarian options. 
Later I would sample potato tacos, which again was a super veggie dish. I also tried the fresh fish and bulgogi pork tacos. All three were flavourful and fresh; hard to go wrong! From there, I had the Ahi Nicoise, which has fresh grilled tuna, Nakano Farms' green beans, local tomatoes, Kalamata olives, capers, Maui farm-fresh egg, and is topped with herb vinaigrette. 

My favourite was the fresh gnocchi served with local chard, sautéed mushrooms, tomato coulis and chevre. I'm not usually a huge gnocchi fan; I usually find it too doughy with little flavour. These were the exact opposite. So delicious especially with the fresh goat cheese. And to finish, the to-die-for chocolate cream pie. 
I had a huge food baby after dining at Monkeypod (leave the tight dress at home for this one, ladies!), and I would happily indulge again. This place has palate-pleasing creative dishes, a fun atmosphere, and it's reasonably priced, which can be hard to find for high-end dining anywhere, let alone on Maui. 

Stay tuned for more Urban Eats reviews from the island of Maui, Hawaii!
--- By Colleen Seto

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