Sarento’s On the Beach
At Sarento’s On the Beach in Maui, the name definitely captures the atmosphere. I wish the beautiful beach landscape could overtake the memories of the unfortunately disappointing lackluster food and poor service we experienced. Firstly, it took over ten minutes for us to even get menus. Then I noticed this young girl toting around a Nikon D90 who looked like she was wishing to be anywhere but this restaurant. After noticing her she approached us with a slightly annoyed tone asking if we wanted our picture taken. My mom decided we might as well and thank god it was over sooner than later.
After finally deciding on entrees, we placed our orders including the mahi mahi catch of the day, the ahi tuna, the shrimp scampi, spaghetti and kobe meatballs, and my entree (pictured above) the clams and linguini. For good measure I also ordered the lump crab cakes as an appetizer. After three baskets of bread and at least 20 minutes, I received my crab cakes. The presentation was beautiful, including two crab cakes (which were just smaller than a standard sized crab cake) and a tower of tomatoes and sweet maui onions. For $18 an appetizer, the crab cakes were quite disappointing, no crunch at all, the rémoulade was quite nice but I don’t think it was enough to make up for the rest of the disappointment I faced with this dish. Once I finished my appetizer, we received yet another thing of bread. At this point, we weren’t even eating it, just picking every now and then because we were hungry. My mom kept count, we received 7 baskets of bread and every table around us, even those that sat 15-20 minutes after, received their food first.
After at least 40 minutes of waiting, our entrees arrived. I wish I could say it surprised me at this point, but our entrees were wrong. They dropped off another mahi mahi entree for my brother when he had asked for spaghetti. My brother is 12 turning 13 and still quite the picky eater so this did not go over so well. For a ‘gourmet’ style restaurant, not only did we have to wait another 15-20 minutes for my brother’s entree, but I had to ask 3 different people for fresh ground pepper on my linguini (because there was no salt and pepper on the table). Not only this, but my guess is that my dish was the first one finished. Why? Because when I put my fork in the pasta, almost the entire bowl lifted because it had dried out and baked together. Not only was it overcooked, but quite bland. I found myself wishing for more cherry tomatoes because at least that added some flavor. Then to my further disappointment when I looked back at the website, the picture of the pasta online was adorned with copious amounts of clams, where mine had barely a handful.
My parents had the mahi mahi and the ahi tuna, and both agreed that they overdressed the fish, disappointing because both mahi mahi and ahi tuna are absolutely delicious fish, even by themselves. My sister’s Wild Tiger shrimp “scampi style” was bland, the potato ravioli were terrible, and completely undercooked. My brother’s spaghetti was inhaled when it finally arrived, and kobe meatballs are sure to please and hard to screw up.
At the end of the meal, the sour-faced photographer came back asking us if we wanted $20 added to the bill for a copy of our picture, which was okay, but not worth $20, especially considering the not-so-fabulous experience we had. Honestly, for all these awards this restaurant had received, I would have much rather went to any of the other restaurants I have written on so far, no matter the price. This place was just not worth it, so my opinion is skip it, unless you’re totally a sucker for scenery, even so, in Maui, there are many other choices.