KAANAPALI - What better way to celebrate a special occasion with family and friends than at the dinner table? If you're looking for a place that will take care of all the details and provide an outstanding array of delicious fare, then look no further than Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa's Black Rock Kitchen.
The 'Ohana Table experience was recently introduced at Black Rock Kitchen by Sheraton Maui Executive Sous Chef Chris Lederer. He joined the Sheraton Maui team in October of 2016, coming from Oahu where he previously worked at Trump International Hotel Waikiki, Roy's Waikiki and Roy's Hawaii Kai.
"We wanted to create a special place for friends, neighbors and family to come together and share local food and talk story, and the 'Ohana Table is the perfect venue to do that. Family and food go hand in hand. When you think of special moments shared with your 'ohana, many times those memories take place around a dinner table," Chef Chris explained. "The 'Ohana Table experience focuses on that theme, making it easy for guests to be with each other without worrying about the logistics. You can choose share-able menu items that will be prepared and presented by me."
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa Executive Sous Chef Chris Lederer holds a dish of Kauai Prawns with locally-sourced produce. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SHERATON MAUI RESORT & SPA.
I had the pleasure of joining friends and colleagues for an evening of sitting at one table, eating and talking story together while delving into Chef Chris' new menu selections.
We started with platters of tender, succulent Baby Back Ribs, which the chef had glazed with his signature sauce. The BBQ sauce was a perfect blend of tang and sweet. These ribs disappeared rather quickly. Brought to the table in large bowls was a Classic Caesar Salad made with crisp baby Romaine leaves, ripe cherry tomatoes and crunchy herbed croutons tossed in an anchovy-garlic emulsion. The fresh salad complemented the savory ribs well.
Primed for the next courses, we were treated to a feast of vegetables, fish and beef, starting with Purple Sweet Potato au Gratin loaded with butter and cheese and oven-roasted in a skillet - this delightful dish was a big hit. The Maui-grown Vegetable Medley featured sauteed broccolini, whole baby carrots, ali'i mushrooms and Brussels sprouts. Sheraton Maui supports local farmers and Hawaii's agricultural industry.
Fresh Island Catch was a beautiful presentation of opakapaka filets covered in roasted garlic and onions, served over baby bok choy in peanut oil and topped with micro-greens - the delicate fish was suffused with flavor. The other fish choice, depending on the day's catch, is mahi mahi with lemon beurre blanc, or you can opt for a seafood upgrade.
When the chef wheeled in a meat service cart, the chatter stopped and our attention was riveted on him as he unveiled the piece de resistance: Australian Wagyu ribeye tomahawk in a 36-ounce size. He sliced the grilled chop into thin strips, which melted in the mouth. This was an upgrade to the regular meat selections of grilled bone-in ribeye or New York steak.
If all of that wasn't enough, we made room for dessert. Two desserts are included in the 'ohana menu. Peanut Butter Paradise Pie is a decadent combination of Oreo cookie crust, peanut butter mousse filling, chocolate ganache and toasted marshmallow on top. These delectable slices were served with a strawberry rosette. Westside Poi Beignets were a unique twist on the traditional French Creole confection. The little donuts were made with poi and dusted with sugar then served on top of creme Anglaise and strawberry sauce - quite a treat!
The 'Ohana Table menu provides the culinary team with the ability to highlight locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients. It features your choice of a salad, one starter, two entrees and two desserts all served family-style at one large table. A custom-made Monkeypod wood table is featured in the center of the Black Rock Kitchen dining room for this experience, seating up to ten guests. The resort's restaurant staff works with guests in advance to build an ideal menu for their party.
I asked Chef Chris what inspires him when creating a dish for this menu. He related, "I was born and raised on Oahu and my passion is Hawaii Regional Cuisine. I use locally-sourced products whenever possible. Ingredients like Molokai sweet potato, Maui Gold pineapple, dragon fruit, taro, fresh local catch tell the story of our islands while also being flavorful, fresh and vibrant. The 'Ohana Table menu gives me the freedom to be inspired by these ingredients. I'm passionate about connecting with people through food, and my goal is always to create delicious food made with love."
Chef Chris Lederer makes the 'Ohana Table an inspiring, interactive dining experience. One booking is available each evening. Black Rock Kitchen's dinner hours are from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Reservations should be made at least 24 hours in advance at (808) 662-8059 or sheraton-maui.com.