Coast Grille at Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
Coast Grille, Westin Hapuna Beach Resort’s signature restaurant, offers a view of Mount Hualalai and Hapuna Beach along the Kohala Coast on Hawaii Island. The restaurant is only open for dinner and if you get there in time, you’ll be guaranteed a sunset. An on-site garden supplies some ingredients and its tranquil atmosphere is relaxing after a busy day playing in the water.
Following a private canoe ride up the coast with Westin Hapuna Beach Resort beach boys, Tyson and Kei, I clean up in my ocean front room and meet the Director of Culinary and Beverage Operations, Peter N. Abarcar, Jr., in the resort’s garden.
It’s a wild, meandering plot that starts at the top of a hill and rides a gulch through the property. Garden staff cultivate eggplant, tomatoes, mint, basil, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, papayas, taro, squash, moringa, Chinese water spinach, bananas, kale, lettuce, lemongrass, bitter melon, pineapple, pumpkin, Portuguese cabbage (collard greens), kaffir lime, Hawaiian chili peppers, Meyer lemons and rosemary.
“The garden was a labor of love for me,” chef Peter says as resort guests stroll by and admire wide leaves in a taro patch. “People have to walk by this on their way to the restaurant and it gives them something pleasing to look at.”
Chef Peter grew up in nearby Honokaa, graduated from the Culinary Institute of the Pacific in 1990, and learned about farm-to-table cooking from Alan Wong. He became the chef de cuisine at Coast Grille in 2010 and in 2012, he created a multi-course locavore menu that highlights exceptional ingredients from state. Last Dec., Moses “Moki” Tavares, joined Peter’s team as chef de cuisine.
In his new role, Chef Tavares oversees day-to-day kitchen operations, utilizes the on-site Coast Grille garden and manages the locavore dinner series. Tavares was born on Oahu and had cooked at restaurants such as Canoe House, Le Soliel, and most recently, Café Pesto.
Coast Grille’s new Poke Bar enables guests to customize poke bowls and is available at the oyster bar on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Guests choose a protein, such as kampachi or ahi; add sides, such as inamona, Molokai salt, or island grown sweet onions; pick a sauce including soy, unagi, or spicy mayo, and finally, select sushi rice, taro chips, or sweet potato chips.
“For the Hawaiian culture, poke is hundreds of years old,” Peter explains. “But it’s just now hitting the West Coast. Hawaii has some of the best seafood in the world, and if the West Coast is doing it, we need to!”
Located at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
62-100 Kauna Oa Dr., Kohala Coast
This is post three of seven of our Big Island trip. For more information, read “Big Island Bounty Tour.”
All images copyright Daniel Lane/Pono Photo. For more information, visit www.PonoPhoto.com.