Maui Food and Dining

Eat Me: Café O’ Lei in Kihei

June 20, 2011, 10:54 PM HST
* Updated June 21, 6:06 AM
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By Kristin Hashimoto

Macadamia nut crusted chicken breast, photo by Kristin Hashimoto

Down the strip of South Kihei there are a diverse array of restaurants, shave ice stops, ice cream places and Asian cuisine. It’s difficult to find, when looking for something satisfying, easy on the wallet, and relatively quick. Café O’ Lei, in South Kihei suits many tastes with their sushi menu, lunch and dinner items that span the range from Asian to American flavors and interpretations.

Walking into the space, one is greeted by dark greens, a wooded interior and gauzy window dressings. The green paint isn’t perfectly matched in shades and there’s more than a few paint drippings dried in the paint, but the overall feel is comfortable and clean.

The menu is comprised of some choice cocktails, salads, appetizers, entrees homemade desserts and locally made ice creams and sorbets.

The lunch menu is affordably priced with the jumbo tiger shrimp salad, and the seared Ahi sandwich with wasabi mayonnaise on focaccia, each priced at $12.95, as their most expensive lunch offerings. Other dishes offered include: crab club sandwich, macnut crusted chicken breast, blackened Mahi Mahi and curry chicken salad among many others. Dessert is a sweet affair with Lappert’s ice creams, pineapple upside down cake, lilikoi cheesecake and more.

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The macnut crusted chicken breast entrée comes with three pieces of tender yet crispy chicken breasts with a light, yet creamy, caper sauce. The dish was satisfying and flavorful. The shrimp papaya salad did have a great combination of ingredients. Tropical papaya mingled with creamy avocado, mixed greens, dressing and shrimp. Unfortunately, the shrimp could have been fresher, and each chunk of orange-pink papaya should have been soft, sweet and ripe. Hard, pale papaya chunks were unfortunately leftover on the plate with the untouched, pieces of shrimp.

Papaya and shrimp salad, photo by Kristin Hashimoto

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Dinner items are pricier as ingredients get even better. The typical surf and turf plate with Australian lobster with New York steak will cost you $48.95. Other dinner items are about half that price. Café O’ Lei’s brick oven turns out flatbreads, baked clams and mussels.

Hours are Tuesdays through Sundays, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The full sushi bar is open from 4:30 p.m. Call 808-891-1368 for reservations or for more information. Café O’ Lei also has another location in Wailuku.

 

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