You can learn all kinds of things in resort hot tubs. Perfect strangers exchange information on everything from their latest injuries to where the best restaurants are. It was in a hot tub that we learned about the 5 Palms Restaurant in south Kihei on Maui.
Back in our condo, the job of looking up the menu and prices was given to me. The menu items were basically in English, but using exotic terms. The menu headings were actually in Greek. Because of this, I did not know I was only looking at the prices for appetizers.
In the dark, it was confusing to find parking by the hotel, at least parking that wasn’t reserved for hotel patrons. It was also hard to locate the entrance to the restaurant around behind the hotel. I’m still interested in going on a day time scouting trip to see if there is an easier way!
We should have been suspicious when the not unkind, but rather stiff waiter show us to our table. He seemed to give the impression that we were in over our heads. When we saw the real main dish prices, we almost left. These prices were well above our normal restaurant meal prices. But, it was our last night on the island with special friends; and we were celebrating 30 year wedding anniversaries together.
When the food came, it was extraordinary. It began with a delicate cornbread style bread that had seaweed crumbles and sesame seed. The butter to go with it, according to the waiter, had some passion fruit whipped into it, and it was topped with sea salt. For my main dish, I ordered macadamia nut encrusted ono (a type of fish). There were purple sweet potatoes on the side. The only thing I wasn’t delighted with was the bok choy, but that’s just me.
I commented to my companions that this was the only meal in a restaurant that had ever rivaled Chef Betharoni’s multi-course, gourmet meals. They have all enjoyed Chef Betharoni’s creations, so knew exactly what I meant. Then, there was a resounding CRASH 15-20 feet away as some poor busboy dropped a stack of glasses.
After the usual glance when there is such a noise, we turned back to our meals. A couple of minutes later, I thought I noticed a piece of ice near my right arm. Looking more closely, I found it was a small chunk of glass. Seeing no reason to leave it there, while trying to remember not to hurt myself, I motioned for the waiter.
The cascade of service that this action stimulated was worthy of the prices we were paying. The shard of glass was immediately removed. The area was searched for more shrapnel. The manager came to check on us, then, most impressively, I was given a free piece of magnificent mud pie.
They didn’t blink at all when I asked for extra plates and spoons to share it. It was huge and beautiful. This was the dessert we would have ordered if we had been inclined to get anything more after the very satisfying meal.
If you can budget for it, I have to recommend 5 Palms for one meal if you visit Maui. The food was uniquely delicious. The service was fabulous. The atmosphere was all about making the clients feel special. I may have to take Chef Betharoni there some day.