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The Lanai Restaurant Opens in Poipu

The Lanai, located at the Shops at Kukuiula, is now open and serves Napa inspired food in a contemporary Hawaiian setting. Daniel Lane photo
The Lanai, located at the Shops at Kukuiula, is now open and serves Napa inspired food in a contemporary Hawaiian setting. Daniel Lane photo

The Lanai, located at the Shops at Kukuiula, is now open and serves Napa inspired food in a contemporary Hawaiian setting. Daniel Lane photo

The Lanai opened just before Thanksgiving, on Nov. 20, 2016. Owners Howard Warner and Jeff Sacchini built the outdoor restaurant as an extension of Living Foods Gourmet Market & Cafe. The Lanai, which is located at the Shops at Kukuiula, serves Napa inspired food in a contemporary Hawaiian setting.

When designing the wine list, which includes 31 varieties and six regions, Jeff worked with Chuck Furuya, the tenth person in the United States to pass the rigorous Master Sommelier examination.

“We serve wine in nice 15-and-a-half-ounce glasses and they’re temperature controlled,” says Jeff, who is a wine collector. “It doesn’t matter if you order wine by the glass or bottle, you’re going to get a red that’s 68 degrees and a white that’s about 42.”

Agave Blush (left) and Intoxicated Opinion. Daniel Lane photo

Agave Blush (left) and Intoxicated Opinion. Daniel Lane photo

Signature cocktails are made with local fruit, which is juiced at Living Food’s Juice Bar. Timmy’s Tai Chi ($15) is a blend of three rums, orange and pineapple juice, and coconut water. Agave Blush ($13) mixes Patrón Silver tequila, lime juice, a whisper of Aperol and muddled strawberries. Tawny-colored Intoxicated Opinion ($14), with Kiawe Pineapple Bitters, has a smoky full-bodied rye whiskey mouth-feel with hints of fruit and citrus.

The restaurant seats 65 people, and diners cluster around tables sharing small plates and laughter. They are surrounded by palm trees, red and yellow hibiscus flowers and chirping birds. Black fans and industrial lights hang from the overhead ceiling, where wood slats are painted white. Rustic wood trim accents the ceiling and three square pillars. The back of the bar is lined with white painted bricks and the floor is rust-colored concrete. A white-slatted fence runs the perimeter of the restaurant, and eating along the accompanying continuous countertop is an opportunity for people watching. 

Executive Chef JP Filion at The Lanai. Daniel Lane photo

Executive Chef JP Filion at The Lanai. Daniel Lane photo

Executive Chef JP Filion, makes everything from scratch, including a buttery squid ink hollandaise. The black swirl of sauce is topped with a green apple and toasted macadamia nut salad as well as thin slices of seared ahi ($14). 

“We chose to do sharing type plates because it’s fun and we wanted to encourage our guests to try as many dishes as possible,” says JP, a former executive chef at Red Salt who’s also cooked in Ottawa, Vancouver, San Francisco, Sochi Russia and Rio De Janeiro. 

There are entree-sized dishes as well, such as succulent mahimahi slathered in salty red miso and placed in a luxurious lime and coconut “chowder” that’s studded with fresh shiitake mushrooms, green bell peppers, potatoes and carrots ($19).

Dan found a new favorite loco moco at The Lanai and it’s no surprise why. A pudding-like cube of Wagu short rib, that is braised in Maui Brewing Company’s Coconut porter, is placed on a mound of black truffle risotto, which is cooked to a perfect al dente. Richly flavored gravy spills down the beef and a dainty quail egg is placed on top ($22). I believe it’s the most inexpensive yet luscious piece of Wagu on Kauai.

The Lanai

2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka St., Koloa
808-378-4359
www.TheLanaiKauai.com
Open daily
Lunch – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (starting Dec. 14)
Happy Hour – 3 to 5 p.m. ($3 beers and $3 off signature cocktails)
Dinner – 5 to 10 p.m.

*No one pays us to be featured on our blog, book, app or tours. It’s just our professional opinion! All images copyright 2016 Daniel Lane/Pono Photo. For more information, or to purchase images, visit www.PonoPhoto.com.

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