Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On the plate: 'Ama'Ama

Nadine Kam photos
The entry to 'Ama'Ama, Aulani A Disney Resort & Spa's new contemporary restaurant.

What a treat it was to venture out to out to Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, last week. It may have been work, but it felt like a vacation to wander the newly open resort at Ko Olina.

A team of us went out for a first look regarding our respective beats of dining, art, entertainment and travel. By late afternoon, I was starving, having skipped lunch, so a couple of us stayed to check out lunch at the resort's contemporary restaurant 'Ama'Ama.

It was a hot lazy day, and so relaxing to look out over the ocean during the late lunch that started at about 2:30 p.m.

Food—just a burger, chicken sandwich and kalua pig buns—took a long time to come out of the kitchen, so by the time we were finished it was 4:30 p.m., which is OK if you're a tourist and have all the time in the world.

What I really wanted to do was return for dinner, and my review appears in the paper on Sept. 21, 2011. Essentially, the quality's high, but I couldn't help thinking it was created to Disney taste, with all the middle-of-the-road sweetness that implies. Here's the pictorial version.

Stepping through the entryway to a world of relaxation and leisure. Can't you just feel yourself breathing deeper and your shoulders relaxing already?

The room by day.

On the lunch menu, pulled pork, local-style, $14.

A starter of Hamakua mushroom "tart," really more like an elaborate crostini also topped with arugula, coriander creme fraiche and Parmesan, turned out to be one of the better dishes I tried, at $16.

Head-on grilled jumbo shrimp ($18) was painted with sweet barbecue sauce, too much for my taste, but good for those with a sweet tooth, who like to bury their food in sauce.

This side of souffle potato (I was expecting it to be mashed) was fun. I like potatoes anyway, and these were deep-fried to puff up like balloons. The trick is to eat 'em while they're hot without filling up before you've touched your entree.

A side of asparagus gratin was also nice.

The rack of lamb was heavy on sauce even without the additional pineapple, mango and poha berry chutney. The lamb was fantastic and perfectly cooked, but for $53 with this candied treatment, I thought I could get better elsewhere for less, in every sense of that word. I don't mind paying this kind of price for adult fare.

Seafood stew ($39) is a light vadouvan curry that doesn't overpower the fish and shellfish. Great for curry lovers. That's herb aioli on top of the crouton, which didn't wow me.

Dessert of lilikoi meringue with a slice of banana topped with a glazed sugar wafer and accompanied by caramel sauce.

When it gets dark, you can watch the changing lights on the property.

Makahiki—The Bounty of the Islands is host to breakfast and dinner buffets. Disney character breakfasts also take place Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays to the thrill of little ones.

Get your shave ice poolside at the Papalua Shave Ice shack.

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