Blu Sesame – The Early Days

I’ve been waiting anxiously for this place to open. I’m a big fan of Asian food in it’s traditional and fusion forms. From cashew chicken (Springfield style of course) to sushi, you name it, I eat it. At first glance this place appeared to be a perfect match.
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After a brief deliberation we settled on Mozzarella Spring Rolls, White Pepper Crab Egg Drop Soup, Chicken Katsu w/ Asian Nachos, Start Your Night Off Roll and the Spicy Ramen w/ Chicken. Yes, I often over order when trying a new restaurant, but it’s a sacrifice I make to give you, the reader, a more thorough review.

The Mozzarella Spring Rolls were the first and best dish of the night. Perfectly crispy with melted cheese surrounding a crisp asparagus spear.

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Kai & Haruno sell a similar (and superior) dish, Asparagus Mozzarella Tempura, although I would definitely order this again.

Next out was the White Pepper Crab Egg Drop Soup. The actual egg drop soup was a good enough rendition. Didn’t detect the white pepper mentioned, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as too much of it can quickly overpower a dish. My biggest issue with the soup was the “crab”. Can we get a law passed that any restaurant selling the pink, rubbery, artificially sweet fish slurry, have to spell the word with a “k”? Crab is one of my favorite things in the whole world. The imitation stuff is an insult to the word. I’d rather pay $6 a bowl and have real crab meat. If not, leave it out of the dish and call it Egg Drop soup.

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The other winner of the night was the Chicken Katsu with Asian Nachos we ordered for the kids. The chicken was tender, flavorful and I love anything fried in panko. The Asian Nachos were also good, topped with teriyaki sauce, a creamy, spicy sauce, pico and black beans. The dish is very similar to the nachos aggressively sampled at Chomp Champ in the mall food court…so much so that we wonder if both are owned by the same team. Very tasty.

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The Start Your Night Off roll sounded interesting, topped with shrimp guacamole (there was very little shrimp present). The guacamole itself was good and fresh, but my nemesis “krab” made another unwelcome appearance in the Cali roll underneath.

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Spicy Ramen with Chicken was not very spicy and overall lacking in flavor. Had potential, but just didn’t quite deliver. The boy thought the noodles looked like Rapunzel’s hair. They love Tangled.

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All that being said, I will definitely be back. There are a lot of other items I would like to try on the menu. The staff was also fantastic, super friendly and service was amazingly fast. I also take into consideration that the place has only been open for just over a week. I will give the kitchen some time to get on the same page with the menu and recipes, then give it another shot. I really want this place to succeed. It’s a welcome, unique addition to downtown and the prices are reasonable enough for lunch or dinner. So give it a try and let me know of you have any recommendations. And beware of the krab.

BONUS REVIEW: SIDE-BY-SIDE
Blu Sesame is adjoined to another of the owners concepts, Side-by-Side dessert lounge. It has it’s own entrance or can be accessed from inside Blu Sesame.

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As you can see, the place looks great, as do the desserts. They get high marks for presentation. Staff recommendations included cupcakes (all of which include yogurt) and cheesecake. We were told that they make all their desserts. We decided on the tiramisu.

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Unfortunately the cake was dry, there was no discernible coffee flavor, and not nearly enough of the creamy mascarpone in between layers.

That was one choice out of a myriad of options. I am really hoping the others don’t follow suit in the “looks better than they taste” category.

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A Shining Star Noodle

My only regret about Star Noodle is that we didn’t find it earlier in our stay. Tucked in an industrial park in Lahaina, this James Beard Award nominated restaurant and chef are cranking out house made noodle dishes in all shapes and sizes.

On our first visit (went twice in 3-days) we worked our way through what seemed like half of the menu. Diners around us were fascinated by the number of dishes we ordered as a party of two.

First thing that impressed me was the nonalcoholic daily drink special. Since neither my wife or I drink alcohol, this was a welcome and refreshing treat. Fresh squeezed Asian pear lemonade.

Our 1st appetizer was the Mala Dog: all beef hot dog, wrapped in Hawaiian sweet bread, then deep fried. It was served with 3-garnishes: mango ketchup, kimchi mustard, Maui onion cucumber relish. I have a real weakness for elevated junk food and this was en point.

Next app: Vietnamese Crepe. This was not your ordinary crepe. It was deep fried and extremely crunchy. Filled with coconut curry pork and shrimp. Garnishes included mint, Thai basil, cilantro, bean sprouts and a sweet chili sauce. All this was assembled in the combination of our choosing in a local Kula lettuce cup. Unquestionably the best lettuce wrap I’ve ever eaten.

The Steamed Pork Buns with pressed pork, hoisin, shiitake mushroom and pickled cucumber were awesome, so much so that a second order was heavily considered. The soft, spongy bun was perfectly complimented by the crispy, salty, sweet hoisin pork and slightly acidic cucumber. Mouth watering just thinking about it.


For entrees we chose two house made noodle dishes. The Lahaina Fried Soup featured a fat chow funn noodle, ground pork and bean sprouts. The Singapore Noodle had vermicelli noodle, chicken, shrimp and veggies in a curry sauce. A squeeze of the calamansi limes provided on the side finished off the dish. Both were full of flavor and the house made noodles were the clear star as you would expect.


This was without a doubt one if the best meals of the trip.

Second visit dishes, all equally inspired:

Fresh Kula Strawberry Soda muddled with fresh mint.


Sizzling Garlic Steak–perfectly cooked steak, sweet Maui onions, toasted garlic and an amazing sauce.


Pad Thai–the best version I’ve had. Loved the garlic chives.


Daily Special–Spiral noodle, jumbo shrimp, thinly sliced pear and red grapes, Thai basil in a coconut curry sauce. Wish I had a plate right now. Wow.


If you’re lucky enough to be on the beautiful island of Maui, do yourself a favor and stop in to try any of Chef Simeon’s Asian entrees and noodle dishes. Star Noodle gets five in my book.

Star Noodle
286 Kupuohi St
Lahaina, HI 96761
http://www.starnoodle.com