Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa kindly hosted Eating in Vancouver for dinner one evening at Kai. The resort’s fine dining restaurant, Kai, celebrates Hawaii-grown produce and highlights fresh local seafood offerings.
Kai is the Hawaiian word for ocean and from this restaurant’s setting, expansive views of serene Keauhou Bay and the Kona Coastline make it a prime dining spot.
We were greeted by a gracious hostess and seated beside the restaurants floor to ceiling open windows. It made for a lovely dining experience, bringing the outside-in. After perusing the menu and deciding on our dishes, our friendly server presented warm dinner rolls and butter to us before our pupus (appetizers) arrived.
We enjoyed a few tropical cocktails, complete with obligatory drink umbrellas! Deliciously rich and creamy, although very filling beverages before our three-course meal.
To start, we sampled a few appetizers including the Waimea Caesar Salad – Waimea is a historic area of the island of Hawaii full of rolling, green pastures and is still known as paniolo (aka Hawaiian cowboy country). The dish consisted of crisp Waimea-grown romaine lettuce tossed with parmesan herbed croutons and creamy caesar salad dressing. This salad had just the right amount of dressing, so we could tasted each bite of local lettuce.
Macadamia Nut Mango Crab Cakes – Two mini crab cakes served with Hawaiian purple potato salad & ginger aioli drizzled on top. This colorful plate of nutty crab cakes were well seasoned, although we anticipated them to be larger in size.
Ahi & Avocado Poke – “Poke” (pronounce po-kay) is a raw fish salad appetizer and is a popular dish in Hawaiian cuisine. This poke consisted of Hawaiian-caught Ahi (yellow-fin tuna), served raw similar to sashimi, tossed with soy sauce, sesame oil, creamy island avocados, blackened sesame seeds, and pickled ginger.
For my entree or “mea i wai’ia” as it is known in Hawaiian, I ordered the local fresh fish of the day, mahi-mahi. If you’re unfamiliar with mahi-mahi, it has lean flesh with a mild, sweet flavor, and its moderately firm texture remained very moist even after cooking. Kai offers four different styles of preparation for your fish of choice. I decided on the “Sweet Chili Lime Glaze” for my mahi-mahi which was served with seasonal vegetables such as carrots and asparagus, Yukon mashed potatoes and passion fruit drizzle.
Gary chose the Award-Winning Lamb Chops for his main course. This dish was the winner of the Kona Coffee Recipe Contest and the entree consisted of Kona coffee dusted lamb chops served with garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, baby carrots, macadamia nut pesto and lamb jus. A very generous portion, the lamb was perfectly cooked medium-rare:
We were both very full from our meals, but couldn’t leave the restaurant without trying some dessert. Therefore, we decided to share a piece of cake to cap off our evening: Classic NY Cheesecake – A soft cream cheesecake set on top of a graham cracker crust, served with a refreshing raspberry coulis. Kai is open for breakfast each morning from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and dinner is served nightly from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. After dinner, don’t miss the manta rays which you can view right from the resort!