My husband and I were excited to visit this new venue at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Kauna'Oa Bar and Grill occupies the beautiful space that was built out by the operators of Monettes (the restaurant that didn't make it in this space).
The first bad news: On the way to Kauna'Oa Bar and Grill, we walked through the beautiful Copper Terrace area, to discover that this bar and lounge has been closed and replaced by our new destination.
Then we entered. Somehow, the minor renovations that were done to this elegantly built out space actually detract from the interior design. The staff, all recognizable Mauna Kea employees, appear anxious to please but unsure of what to do. With very few customers, my water or iced tea were never refilled, despite the bartender hovering in our area most of the time. A sushi station has been set up at one end of the bar, and is an addition to the otherwise standard Mauna Kea beach and pool restaurant offerings (think Hau Tree or the Beach Bar at Hapuna). Caesar salad was good, and identical to the salad served in every other Mauna Kea and Hapuna restaurant. The burger was also okay.
All in all, I don't think that it would be possible to use less imagination to set up a new eating and drinking venue at this lovely property. There's nothing new or interesting here; they've detracted from a beautiful room by putting up a large drywall partition to close off the kitchen area. They've done nothing unique or delightful with menu. The sushi seems incongruous, but I guess they need to offer it somewhere in the hotel. Truly a mediocre disappointment, when Mauna Kea Hotel has the facility and the demand for something original and delightful.
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