We’ve headed over to the once-again-revamped-re-menu’ed Japanese restaurant at Makena Beach and Golf Resorts (once the Maui Prince) for the last few weeks. Not just because we have to … but because we’re enjoying ourselves.
This restaurant was once called Hakone, but that changed when the resort’s owners gave up the ghost. The next iteration of this lovely restaurant was disappointing: bland or worse “Pacific Rim” food was bad enough, but why, oh, why, did they replace the lightbulbs with red and green party bulbs? Eating mediocre food is not fun; eating mediocre food while looking at your tablemate’s bright green face is positively hellish.
The name of the restaurant was Zen Zen. While I’m sure that the management thought it sounded very chic and modern and calming and Japanese and all … the word “zenzen” in Japanese is a modifier that means something like “totally” or more common “not at all.” In other words, an establishment called Zen Zen Restaurant could mean “no good restaurant.”
Well, Hakone, renamed Zen Zen, has been renamed again: Raku. Raku, by the way, means pleasure, or happy, in Japanese.
We have been happy after dining at Raku, as has our assortment of guests. We’ve been working our way through the Japanese buffet on Saturday nights: gorgeous sashimi, lovely sushi rolls, and excellent miso soup, ten different salads, three soups, steamed crab legs, tempura, beef, chicken … a generous feast. And the dessert table? Excellent! Lovely!
Highly recommended for a try as the resort gets back on its feet. Call 808-874-1111 for reservations.