Review: Amasia Restaurant-Fusion flavors hit a home run
By Kathy chin Leong

Through the open air lobby of the Grand Wailea in Maui, down, down, down a series of steps, past tiki torches and around a pleasant koi pond, my husband, daughter,and I entered the world of Amasia, a fictitious super continent blending the flavors of Asia And North America. At least, that is what the storybook menu reads on the first page.

Welcome to Amasia, the newest venture from Hawaii's celebrity chef Alan Wong that greets foodies around the world.  His other restaurants on Oahu are the renown Alan Wong's and The Pineapple Room.As the name Amasia suggests, the over 65 things on the menu offer a fresh North American twist on traditional Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, and other Asia fare.
While I am not big fan of fusion (I like my Chinese food to be Chinese food, Thai to be Thai and so on), the superb execution changed my mind, for the most part.

StatesMar13-2.jpgDishes at this dynasty are to be shared, and hence, most items are presented in small plate tapas style. The three of us shared the following- sashimi in shot glasses, duck pork buns,
sushi with crispy rice, Korubata baby back ribs.  And at the end, we finished off the meal with an extraordinary dessert- a chocolate crusted coconut sorbet with fresh fruit within
not only was each dish a work of art, there was plenty of it to fill us up.

The meal began with a few pickled side dishes as you would have at a Korean restaurant. We looked around as tourists from all parts of the globe floated onto the premises,
knowing they were in for a special treat. From most favorite item to least in order was the: coconut sorbet dessert, the sushi, a tomato salad with li hing mui sauce, and on down to the duck buns.
The buns were not extraordinary as our expectations were quite high by mid meal. Small white orbs of dough with a spoonful of duck meat nested in the center was tasty but not to the point we cried.
No cartwheels here. We find the traditional Peking duck with crispy skin at Chinese banquets so much more delectable. 

StatesMar13-4.jpgBut what was incredible was the tomato salad. In the center of a pool of orange li hing mui sauce on top of a circle of finely sliced cucumbers was a peeled whole tomato sliced across the center
two times and reassembled.  The tomato was sweet, and the dish beautifully arranged.  With a great way to start the meal, what followed next was even more exciting. The rice sushi called the
Ochazuki tea and rice maki featured white fish and  The rice maki had a crispy exterior, and everything was so fresh that

While we were seated by the window, we did not realize there were other wings of the restaurant bursting with activity. The layout is such that you feel very cozy in the room you are in not
knowing about the existence of other rooms. Another room has a sushi bar. Yet another features a sequestered party room for special occasions.  A third section features an indoor gazebo
where you can feel like the elite when you dine there.

StatesMar13-3.jpgElegant, simple, and very Japanese, the original owner of the restaurant and hotel wanted his restaurant to be like a traditional Japanese tea house. He is said to have flown in 800 tons of
rock from Mount Fuji to use for the rock elements anchoring the exquisite decor. The sushi bar is made of a special Japanese imported wood that needs to be lightly washed with tea and sanded each
evening, according to our server.

The wait staff is very, very experienced and have an impeccable knowledge of the menu, for they have tasted most for all of the dishes, seem to be foodies themselves.
The three kitchen areas must coordinate among themselves all night. The separate sushi bar, the kurubata grill, and the back kitchen for the remaining food prep must work together to create an
exquisite culinary ballet.

I would say Alan Wong has a hit on his hands. Service five stars, ambiance five stars, and food four and a half. Well done, well done.

****
DETAILS:

Amasia
Grand Wailea Resort
3850 Wailea Alanui
Wailea, Maui
808/891-3904
http://www.wailearesortdining.com/

Make reservations in advance.

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