At 4:30 on a Wednesday in January we went to Star Noodle and found the small restaurant less than half full. We got a nice table by the window with a good if distant view of the ocean. We could see whales splashing and spouting. Our Austrailian waitress was helpful with food descriptions and suggestions, and she pointed out about 25 minutes later that the place was full of locals and visitors, and a line was forming. She said we had come at just the right time. Reservations are accepted only for parties of five or more.
I would have loved to try more menu items than we did. Everything was so flavorful! The concept of the restaurant is exactly the way we like to eat, smaller plates, shared, served in succession. We started with the Ahi Avo, perfect chunks of raw ahi and creamy avocado drizzled with lemon olive oil. I think there were scallions and maybe something else, I just remember that perfect ahi and avocado combination with the lemon olive oil really bringing out the flavors.
Then we had to get the pork buns that everyone raves about. They were very good with the light chewy steamed buns and the rich pork belly and cool cucumber. But I was a bit disappointed here because I recalled the stellar pork belly we had a few days earlier at Pacific’O. These pork buns could not touch the gooey, meaty, braised perfection of that dish! Still good, but I was spoiled by Pacific’O's pork belly.
Next we wanted a noodle dish and had a hard time deciding which. Lahaina Fried Soup, a uniquely local dish, was not quite spicy enough for our mood. Hot and Sour Soup recommended by our waitress looked delicious with fresh herbs and more spice. And the Pad Thai, which friends love so much, is a dish that I enjoy in all its forms. I love rice noodles! I was leaning to the Hot and Sour, but husband wanted the Pad Thai and I couldn’t complain about the choice. It was definitely some of the best Pad Thai we have eaten. It was a big serving and we couldn’t stop eating until the last noodle was slurped up! Still, I would have liked some fresh herbs added.
The menu was a simple sheet of heavy paper and I was hoping if Chef Sheldon was there, to get his autograph on one, so asked our waitress about him. She said he had headed over to Oahu for a few days with family, then on to Seattle for more Top Chef filming. We returned to our hotel that night to turn on the TV for the only time on our trip, to see Sheldon win the "restaurant wars" segment.
Forcing ourselves to order a dessert for the sake of restaurant research to pass on to all of our TA friends (wink), we ordered a trio of homemade ice creams and very good French press Maui moka coffee. The blueberry lavender was my favorite ice cream, followed by the oatmeal cookie gelato and the third was some version of chocolate. They were all delicious, though we could not quite finish.
Star Noodle was definitely a new favorite for us, and it was still good even if Chef Sheldon wasn’t cooking for us. I think we would have enjoyed it even more a little earlier in the afternoon, maybe 3:00 . Though we weren’t rushed at all, I would have liked to ask them to slow down the delivery of the courses a little bit. With people waiting for tables, we really couldn’t do that.
The Ahi Avo was my favorite dish of those we ordered. I had read about an Ahi belly dish that we were hoping to try but it wasn’t on the menu. I asked, after we were already full, and our waitress said, yes, it was available, but not on the menu. ***So, once again, I am reminded that if you want something you don’t see on the menu. Ask for it. It seems that many Maui restaurants do serve off-menu items. ***
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