I ate at Down the Hatch, the highest-ranked Hawaiian spot on Yelp’s Prime 100 US Eating places in 2022.
I spent $64 on a mai tai, ahi poke, grilled cheese, and spiked shave ice — all had been definitely worth the value.
The meals line can get lengthy, and the dishes are heavyso I will in all probability go for simply drinks subsequent time.
Down the Hatch, a seafood restaurant in my hometown of Lahaina, Maui, has acquired native and nationwide accolades.
I made a decision to strive down the hatch in Lahaina, Maui, after listening to a lot reward concerning the seafood restaurant.
This yr, Yelp ranked it at No. 28 on its Prime 100 US Eating places checklist, primarily based on Yelpers’ favourite eating locations. Of the 4 Hawaii-based eating places on the checklist, Down the Hatch is the best ranked.
This eatery additionally acquired numerous accolades on the 2022 ʻAipono Awardswhich honors the perfect Maui eating places primarily based on votes by residents and guests.
Down the Hatch gained first place for greatest restaurant poke, greatest bar, and greatest late-night eating. It additionally received second place for greatest glad hour and an honorable point out for greatest handcrafted cocktails.
In anticipation of a protracted line, I arrived early and dined throughout glad hour.
Down the Hatch is positioned down the road from my home on Maui, so I go by it usually. It would not settle for reservations, and I usually see the road to order meals prolong far previous the doorway.
That is the primary purpose I normally eat elsewhere and go straight to the bar.
With a possible wait in thoughts, I opted for an early dinner and arrived throughout the restaurant’s glad hour, which runs each day from 2 pm to five pm
It did not harm that I may additionally make the most of discounted meals and drinks throughout glad hour — like 15% off choose appetizers, $6 draft beers$6 properly cocktails, and $7 Hawaiian cocktailstogether with mai tais and lava flows.
Surprisingly, there was just one get together forward of me once I went to order my meal.
Friends order meals on the counter, take a quantity, after which seat themselves.
When friends get to the entrance of the road, they order their meals and drinks on the counter. Then, a workers member offers them a quantity and directs them to discover a seat within the open-air eating space.
In the event that they arrive after 5 pm when there’s extra foot site visitors, they might must be seated by an worker.
If and when diners need extra drinks, they’ll get them organized instantly from the bar. There’s additionally a self-service station with further plates, utensils, napkins, and condiments.
As a result of I used to be there throughout glad hour, I took benefit of the discounted meals and drinks.
Once I received to the counter, I ordered a mai tai, which was made with passion-orange-guava juice (POG). It prices $7.
For my meal, I needed to strive the particular of the month, an $18 ahi poke, as a result of Down the Hatch gained the 2022 ʻAipono Award for greatest restaurant poke.
I additionally received the lobster-and-crab-stuffed grilled cheese — the dish that was featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” — for $24.49.
My whole was $53.14, together with tax and tip.
The inside has a tropical vibe with water options, koi fish, potted vegetation, and aquatic decor.
I’ve at all times liked the koi river that runs via the restaurant. I bear in mind visiting it as a child to feed the fish, lengthy earlier than Down the Hatch opened in 2015.
My favourite piece of decor is the tiger shark sculpture hanging above the bar. Athena Medina, the native artist behind the work, made it utilizing recycled supplies. At evening, the shark is illuminated by an aqua-colored gentle.
Wrapped across the bottom of the bar is a rock wall that incorporates a waterfall, and there is additionally usually a thick layer of leaves, however that was lacking once I visited. Maybe they had been within the technique of changing it with recent foliage.
There have been potted vegetation dispersed across the eating room, which supplied some greenery.
My total order was on the desk inside 5 minutes of leaving the counter.
A few minutes after I sat down at a desk, the mai tai I ordered arrived. I took just a few photos of the cocktail, and earlier than I may take my first sip, a server delivered my meals.
I checked my receipt and noticed that the order was closed out at 4:28 pm, and I had my total order in entrance of me at 4:33 pm, a mere 5 minutes later.
I meant for the ahi poke to be my appetizer and the grilled cheese to function my essential course, however I did not thoughts that the dishes got here on the identical time.
The mai tai and ahi poke paired properly collectively.
Once I lastly tried the mai tai, I spotted the cashier wasn’t joking once they stated it was sturdy. It was additionally fairly candy, and the POG made it a fruit-forward refreshment.
This month’s particular had Asian and Pacific Islander influences. The elements — like kimchi mayo; wakame, or kelp; ‘inamona, or relish constituted of roasted kukui nuts; furikake, or Japanese-rice seasoning; and house-made poke sauce — had been on a mattress of garlic rice.
This quintessential Hawaiian-style fare and drink paired properly collectively, providing a deliciously gentle chew.
The lobster and crab stuffed grilled cheese is the final word consolation meals.
This sandwichwhich made an look on Meals Community, options Hawaiian candy bread crammed with lobster, lump crab, cheese, tomatoes, cabbage, creamy butter sauce, and the eatery’s signature spicy lava-lava sauce.
It additionally got here with a facet of seasoned shoestring fries.
Though I anticipated the lobster and crab to be the sandwich’s essential focuses, the bread’s sweetness and the sauce’s spiciness dominated my first chew. The seafood supplied extra of an aftertaste.
It was nonetheless scrumptious, however I made a psychological observe that I ought to solely order it if I used to be in search of consolation meals, because it was a bit heavy. I ended up taking greater than half of my meal residence.
For dessert, I received an “grownup” shave ice, which was spiked with alcohol.
These 21 and older can select from a choice of grownup shave ice that is spiked with alcohol. It is a distinctive providing, as I’ve by no means discovered one other place in Hawaii that serves one thing related.
I inquired about the most well-liked flavors, and the server stated they had been strawberry-guava daiquiri and piña colada, the final of which was additionally featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.”
The piña colada was extra interesting to me. The underside had haupia, also called coconut pudding, and the highest had coconut shavings and a creamy snowcap, which is a drizzle of condensed milk.
Watching them make it in entrance of me was additionally a part of the enjoyable.
Since I ordered meals from Down the Hatch, I received a 15% low cost at Breakwall Shave Ice Co. For a small spiked shave ice, my whole got here out to $10.74, together with tax and tip.
I may get a good larger low cost subsequent time if I am going again throughout glad hour, when the dessert is simply $6.
Down the Hatch additionally serves as a venue for dwell music and different occasions.
Due to a rotation of native performers, Down the Hatch has dwell music every single day throughout breakfast and glad hour. The restaurant additionally hosts trivia nights, karaoke, silent discos, dancing, and particular occasions.
The $64 I spent on three programs and a cocktail was value it, however I will in all probability simply return for drinks subsequent time.
After factoring within the happy-hour offers, my kamaʻāina (Hawaii resident) low costand the 15% I received off the value of grownup shave ice, my whole was $63.88, together with tax and tip.
This value level is fairly commonplace for Maui, and I knew I used to be additionally paying for the placement, ambiance, dwell leisure, and regionally sourced fish.
Moreover, for the reason that parts had been massive, I used to be capable of stretch my order into two extra meals. I had the hey poke as a late-night snack and saved the grilled cheese for lunch the following day.
I’ll actually return to Down the Hatch, although it’ll extra seemingly be on an evening out, as it is a in style watering gap for locals.
That stated, I’ve but to strive the breakfast menu. With $12 carafes of mimosas and bloody marys alongside dishes like seared ahi Benedict and mango-bread-pudding French toast, it is calling my title.
It is arduous to say whether or not Down the Hatch is the greatest restaurant in hawaiias “greatest” is fairly subjective.
However should you’re looking for an informal setting with good meals and drinks at comparatively cheap costs, Down the Hatch positively delivers — so long as you are keen to attend in line.
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