Ko Restaurant – Culinary Tradition Dining
The Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel on Maui recently opened Ko restaurant, an eatery that offers updated versions of Hawaiian plantation food, such as the savory Filipino filled-pastry lumpia, and fresh, local fish such as sweet-fleshed ono.
Ko Restaurant emphasizes local ingredients with dishes like Maui Cattle Company “Paniolo” Rib Eye and Ahi on the Rock.
Food preparations are intended to represent the intermingled culinary traditions of local food, such as the incredible presentation of Ahi “On the Rock” sashimi spiced with orange ginger miso sauce served next to a hot rock on which you sear your own–and addictive lobster tempura served with a dipping sauce trio of spicy-sesame, pineapple sweet chili garlic, and grapefruit soy.
But you’ll also find Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese influences on the menu, including lumpia spring rolls–a classic Filipino dish that has been elevated in flavor and fashion (see below) and a big, juicy, locally raised steak.
Kō’s roots run deep beyond the food. Chef de Cuisine and Maui Culinary Academy graduate, Jake Belmonte’s father was a plantation worker in the early 1930s and his menu is a reflection of his own family traditions, customs, and experiences with the island’s delicious diversity.
And in true aloha style he enhanced his concept by incorporating the aid and influence of his ethnically diverse and very local staff.