by smmmarti guide
September 9, 2002
So it was that we booked an evening at the Feast of Lele, another luau type option developed by the owners of I’O restaurant and the Old Lahaina gang. The main difference between this event and the average luau is that the Feast at Lele is an intimate gourmet level multi-course sit-down extravaganza served by gracious hosts and waitresses. You won’t find buffet lines or large crowds here. Instead, you will book a private table and be treated to an assortment of dishes representing the major Polynesian island groups.
From Hawaii are kalua pig, pohole ferns and hearts of palm; Tongo offers lobster and ogo salad and Pulehu beef; Tahiti presents fafa steamed chicken in coconut milk and poisson cru; Samoa is represented by coconut cream shrimp and avocado with lilikoi. These are simply examples of the many dishes which during the course of the evening seem to keep rolling in like so many waves on the beach.
It would be impossible to consider tasting all that is presented under normal circumstances in a normal dinner hour, but Feast at Lele guests are entertained between courses by performances that correspond with the cuisine. Eat a little Tongan, watch a little hula, eat a bit of Tahiti, hear a little drumming. Between each set you somehow manage to have another bite or two of what is being brought to the table next.
The show starts out dramatically at sundown as performers arrive from the sea in authentic outrigger canoes. Chants, singing, hula, drumming, dancing and storytelling follow on land and offer ample opportunity for the talented cast to strut their stuff as they take you on a journey through Polynesia. The long-awaited fire twirling finale really blows the cork off the evening to leave everyone utterly satisfied both visually and gastronomically.
Feast at Lele is adjacent to the I’O restaurant in a private grove directly on the ocean with the island of Lanai in the distance, tiki torches dancing with the moon and palm trees swaying in the breezes. The setting really couldn’t be more perfect for establishing a backdrop for south sea theatrics and the romance they are sure to provoke. The renowned chefs of I’O and Pacifica don’t hold back one bit in terms of quality, presentation and creativity in the dishes offered. It really is a perfect way to experience the wide variety of flavors as well as the more subtle differences between cultures and cuisine of the islands of the Pacific.
All-inclusive dinner/show with drinks is priced around $90 for adults, $50 for keikis (children)
From journal Maui - Hikes and Upcountry Delights