Found Graham’s Tawny at Hula Grill in Ka’anapali

hula Grill

Hula Grill in Ka’anapali is a popular tourist restaurant.

Hula Grill is a restaurant my husband and I dined at 12 years ago when in Ka’anapali. I don’t have any recollection of whether I liked it or not, but figured 12 years is a long time and much could change. Up until this point, I have not been immensely satisfied with the dining  establishments in Ka’anapali.

Hula Grill is within walking distance of my hotel in Ka’anapali, and I’ve been almost everywhere else, so it seemed like a good option. Besides, I noted much to my delight they carried Graham’s 20-year Tawny, which seems odd since no other place seemed to carry much in port.

The servers at the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel did not know what I was talking about when I asked for a port. To their credit, the bartender did manage to score a Sandeman, but not the same as a 20-year Tawny. The Tawny paired well with Baked Hawaii for dessert, which was an upside-down pineapple cake. I only ate half of it, though. Too many calories.

Hula Grill

Hula Grill offers a regular dining area or dining in the sand.

I never use my points at Open Table, even though I have racked up quite a few so far. I use that app on my phone all the time. Like my friend Myrl says, she tends to enjoy grocery shopping and creating home-cooked meals, whereas I am most delighted with making reservations through Open Table for fine dining. I’m just glad I did not have to sit in the sand because the sand is cold at night.

hula grill

Thinly sliced sashimi at Hula Grill served with huge dollop of wasabi.

My first course was sashimi, the most thinly sliced sashimi I ever had. It was sliced so thin the pieces stuck together and were difficult to separate with one pair of chopsticks. My husband surmised it’s because they cut the tuna while frozen since it’s so hard to slice that thin.

The wasabi served with it was giant ball of paste. Too big for the cup, and I didn’t notice the size of it when I poured the soy sauce into the container. Still, it was delightful.

Hula Grill

Salt and pepper ribeye cooked rare at Hula Grill is too cold to melt butter.

I have no idea why I ordered a ribeye steak. I don’t even particularly like ribeye. It is not my favorite cut of meat. A few nights earlier, I had ordered a steak at Black Rock at the Sheraton that I had to send back because I had requested it rare. The Sheraton delivered a steak that was medium, not even medium rare.

Hula Grill made sure it was rare, which I appreciate, but the top of the steak was not even warm. It seemed to be pan grilled, which doesn’t provide much of a char, and rare does not cook away any of the fat, so I probably should have not have ordered it rare. The fingerling potatoes were truffle roasted, which gave it that dead flavor at the back of your throat, which some people appreciate, but I didn’t like it, even though I love truffles.

I chalk up that disappointing ribeye experience to the fact I should not have ordered it in the first place. However, Hula Grill is a place that deserves a second visit.

I sat at Hula Grill sipping my Tawny port, listening to James Taylor’s Carolina in my Mind and thinking to myself, you know, that song came out 46 years ago. That’s why I don’t often listen to music from the ’60s, because it reminds me of a wrinkle in time that will never be recaptured. Youth is not fully appreciated while it’s happening.

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