Mama’s Fish House
Category: Restaurant Review
If you’re ever in Maui with a bit of extra cash to spend you HAVE to hit Mama’s Fish House. With clientele ranging from Marc Summers featuring them on FoodNetwork’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” to Frank Sinatra and Aerosmith, this spot’s reputation leads one to have pretty high expectations; for us theses expectations were completely withheld.
The restaurant itself is decorated with cozy notes of seaside antiques and ocean themed architecture with a view that could make even the coldest of hearts melt. The day we walked down those steps to the beautifully situated restaurant was a balmy 30 something degrees Celsius. There was a light breeze rolling in off the roaring ocean and up through the small patch of palm trees that shaded the (at first) quaint looking dining spot. One hint for this place? You will need a reservation. Without one, it’s next to impossible to get into.
Once we arrived, we were sat at a round table for 6 which was artfully half surrounded by worn down windows and sea-themed blinds instead of walls, and an open view of the ocean over the other tables in part of the dining room. It took a little while to get a server, and a little while longer than expected to get drinks (by the time I received my coke it was completely watered down because most of the ice had melted, also a problem because of the heat I’m going to assume). For appetizers, we ordered the Lobster Guacamole, Uku Ceviche, and a Mama’s special Sashimi (which I can’t remember the specific name of) that included salmon, ahi tuna, and uku. The picture you see above is the Uku Ceviche, which was delicious–perfectly tender, deliciously limey once mixed up a little bit, and the chips that accompanied it were absolutely divine. The Lobster Guacamole was the biggest hit at the table, my sister hates guacamole and loved this, it was delicious and an interesting combination that I haven’t yet thought of. The trio of Sashimi was my Dad’s appetizer, and he devoured it. The salmon wasn’t the greatest, but that’s because as Canadians living not far from BC, we are accustomed to much fresher salmon than they have imported to Hawaii. The Uku was delicious, with a little bit of ginger and black sea salt, and of course my Dad’s favorite was the Ahi Tuna, which is easily his favorite anywhere.
I just want to take a moment here to give an honorary mention to the fresh baked honey wheat poppy seed loafs that slid onto our table so quietly and were devoured so quickly. Nothing beats legitimately fresh baked bread, rather than freshly ‘rebaked’ bread. This bread still steamed as it reached our table and the butter melted so perfectly in order to create a heavenly memory lingering on my taste-buds.
For entrees, I ordered the Ono, which was on part of the menu that changes daily featuring not only what types of fish were freshly caught, but who caught it and where it was caught. The Ono was prepared upcountry style with caramelized Maui onion, tomato, avocado and jasmine rice, a tantalizing combination which I asked to have made spicier as our waitress warned me it usually falls at about a 3/10 on a scale of spiciness so I had it bumped up to a 5/10–a perfectly chosen decision on my part. My mother had Mama’s Stuffed Mahimahi which is stuffed with lobster, crab and Maui onion, baked in a macadamia nut crust. After inquiring, we also discovered this had a pineapple beurre-blanc sauce which was absolutely divine. Also at our table were both the Sandwich of Grilled Ahi and Mahimahi, both served with smoked applewood bacon, Vermont Cheddar Cheese Focaccia Bread and Molokai sweet potato fries. The sweet potato fries were blue sweet potato fries and quite flavorless, but in all fairness, they are definitely not the star of the plate. All three that had the sandwiches loved them, my Dad with his perfectly seared Ahi Tuna, and my sisters with their delicate Mahimahi. My brother had the Maui Cattle Company “Pulehu” Short Ribs with beer-battered onion rings, and I ate all his mushrooms which he ordered on the side. Just a note: these mushrooms were heavenly, and I know mushrooms seem such a silly thing to gush over, but they were unmistakeably unforgettable.
We couldn’t go to Mama’s without ordering desert, mostly because that was the main reason it was featured on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” for their creme brulee with fresh Liliko’i (passionfruit). This was the desert of my choice, my sister chose a cheesecake with Maui Gold Pineapple and Macadamia Nut and my brother chose the beautiful Polenysian Black Pearl desert, which had chocolate mousse and Liliko’i cream in a pastry seashell. All three deserts were remarkable works of art, especially the Polynesian Black Pearl which looked exactly like a delectable oyster shell crafted from pastry, just as described above. But by far, the best desert, as Marc Summers so efficiently suggested, the Creme Brulee with Liliko’i. It was delightful with a delicate passion fruit syrup and a perfect crunch from the charred sugar top. I now fear that I am never again to enjoy creme brulee until I find myself sitting back at a table at the ocean front Mama’s Fish House in Maui.
I urge you, if you’re in Maui, and even if you just pop in for desert, Mama’s Fish House is a MUST stop for any foodie or food aficionado. Enjoy my friends!