More Maui: An iconic restaurant; an island recipe

Mama’s Fish House viewed from the beach.

From Spoon: Yes, we’ve been back for a week, but we’re still riding high on memories of our time in Maui.

Umbrella drinks are a must at Mama’s

One of the many extraordinary experiences – and one of the few restaurant visits – was our evening at Mama’s Fish House on Maui’s North Shore. Mama’s is probably the most celebrated restaurant on the island; the 2011 Zagat guide to Hawaiian restaurants has it at No. 5 of the top 10 for food – that’s in the entire state.

One of the bars at Mama’s

A Mai Tai (foreground) and a Scorpion started the evening off Hawaiian-style.

Mama’s is not so much a building as a sprawling, funky beach shack,  resembling a movie set – albeit a gorgeous one, with wood carvings, Polynesian artifacts and tropical flowers everywhere. You expect Don Ho to come into view at any given moment. It’s both rustic and elegant, with blue batik tablecloths, woven basket lampshades and dining rooms open to the night air – looking out over a serene, coconut palm-planted beach.

Our half-moon-shaped table for two was in the “second row;” we had a perfect view, but weren’t right in the open window. Our excellent, fun, friendly server, Terry, took great care of us and told us she’s planning a vacation to, of all places, Maine! She guided us on food decisions – thankfully, because there were so many dishes on Mama’s menu that sounded intriguing. One of the remarkable things about the menu is that it lists not only where the fish was caught, but exactly who caught it. Ted had “Mahimahi caught by Randy Kinores in blue waters beyond Lanai.”

Ono Polynesian style in a fresh coconut

Sashimi selection

Mahimahi stuffed with lobster, crab and Maui onion, baked in a macadamia crust

Ono “Old Hawaiian” with baked Hana banana, slow-roasted pork, Molokai sweet potatoe, lomi-lomi salmon, tropical fruit and coconut milk

Instead of dessert we opted for a snifter of Pyrat XO Reserve Rum and French pressed coffee – Kaanapali Hills Maui Moka, grown by James (Kimo) Falconer – all the coffees list the local growers too, how cool is that?! There’s no question that Mama’s Fish House, like everything on Maui, is expensive – with entrees ranging from $36 -$78 (that’s for steak and lobster tail, which I would never order here.) But the entire experience is absolutely worth it: the setting, the view, the food and the service are spectacular and – a word I hesitate to use but absolutely applies – unique.

The view from our table

Back at the Kehei ranch (Mary and William’s home) Ted created a delicious, island-style shrimp dish for another special dinner. After wrangling the recipe out of him, here it is.

Ted’s Maui Shrimp with Coconut Rice

Ted’s Maui Shrimp with Coconut Rice

2  1/2 lbs. raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup shoyu or low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/8 cup light olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cups rice
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (NOT cream of coconut)
3 scallions, white and half of green, chopped

Combine shoyu or soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, lime juice and ginger in glass or ceramic bowl or dish. Add shrimp, stirring to mix well, cover and put in the refrigerator to marinate for 1-2 hours.

Before you cook the shrimp, make the rice. Mix the coconut milk with enough water to make 4 cups of liquid. Pour into a medium saucepan with the rice and 1/2-1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

Drain the shrimp, reserving 1/4 cup marinade. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Stir and add the marinade, continuing to cook for about 2 minutes more, stirring, until shrimp are just pink. Be careful not to overcook them.

Spoon rice onto a serving platter. Top with shrimp and chopped scallions. Serve immediately.

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One thought on “More Maui: An iconic restaurant; an island recipe

  1. As a family we came to celebrate our daughter’s 39th b/d and our 45th wedding anniversary the server we had is wonderful she made me who is not enchanted with fish a believer we also had with us our 6 1/2 year lot and 18month old granddaughter who also loved the food…Thank-you for you lovely food and service,especially Thank-you for the relief of not having to smell fishy wish there. Any one who plans on going to Maui should make your reservations for this location you will not want to leave andI promise you will need your camera. Now you are home here. Thank-you everybody you made our night beautiful and fun.

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