One last dispatch about our recent trip to Maui. We were very excited to try out Chef Sheldon Simeon’s new restaurant, Migrant, located in the Marriott resort in Wailea. We really like Star Noodle and were disappointed to hear that he had moved on after he finished as one of the finalists in last year’s Top Chef series. Simeon must have made quite an impression on Top Chef Producer/Judge and Chef extraordinaire Tom Colicchio, since he became a silent partner in the launch of Migrant, opened late last December. It took over the casual lounge of Mala Ocean Tavern which it shares a kitchen with.
We noticed the cocktail list was not so much to our preference, specializing in sweeter drinks. So we perused the sake list which was confusing since some of the listings included volume (e.g. 300 ml) while others were left blank. We are familiar with the Otokoyama Junmai Sake and decided to get that, but asked our waitress to clarify what quantity we would get for the $30 price tag (e.g. glass, 300 ml like the others listed, etc). She didn’t know and went to the bar and asked. She returned with the answer of “a carafe.” So then we asked what size carafe, to which she returned from the bar with the response, “a standard sized carafe.” We were boggled since in our experience there are many types of carafes, such as litre, half-litre, 12 ounce, etc. At this point, we decided to go ahead and get it, and for those wondering, it is a 10 oz carafe, which seems steep at $30, but everything costs more in paradise:
All dishes are served tapas-style, smaller plates meant to be shared. We started off with the Kumu Farms Organic Kale Salad which came studded with pumpkin seeds, figs and Nori seaweed, all mixed in with a tasty shiro (white) miso dressing:
Chef Simeon brought over his Fat Chow Funn noodles from Star Noodle, but this incarnation mixed the thick rice noodle with roast pork, pipinola (Hawaiian chayote) shoots and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese:
We were instructed that the best way to eat this dish is to mix it all together. The dish was great where the thick noodles were chewy (in a good way) with plenty of roast pork flavoring:
We had finished the sake and decided that a bottle of Rosé would be ideal to pair with the rest of the meal. We tried to order a Whispering Angel Provençal Rosé, but they were out and substituted it with a bottle of Charles Joquet Chinon Rosé of Cabernet Franc instead. It was a good wine, but the fact that Migrant took over the Mala Ocean Tavern Lounge is evident with the blue-logoed wine glass:
The Fried Ahi Belly dish was also quite good. The fried fish was served with a lightly sweet shoyu sauce, and a small red Hawaiian Chili was also contained in the bowl. We were instructed to smash the chili and mix it in to our taste since the small chili packs a lot of punch with six times the capsaicin content than that of a jalapeño:
Chef Simeon’s food is still great, but we can’t say that we really liked the atmosphere or the strange level of service. Judging by the clientele and the service, it’s really geared towards tourists, despite Chef Simeon’s pidgin English billing of “Come My House. Eat.” It’s still very much the feel and look of Mala Ocean Tavern’s Lounge with logos everywhere along with Mala’s signature dessert of Caramel Miranda (from Avalon days) featured on the menu.
As much as we hate to admit it, we think Chef Simeon may have “sold out.” The beauty of Star Noodle was it was a great restaurant for locals and the tourists with a car and great taste buds. His food remains great, but now it’s served at higher price points in a very touristy atmosphere.