Merriman's Monkeypod to Open on Oahu in 2012

The Runaway Success of Wailea is Headed for Bountiful Shores Next Summer

Merriman's Monkeypod to Open on Oahu in 2012

Of all the Hawaiian Regional Cuisine chefs, it’s possible the Peter Merriman commands the least pomp and circumstance. From Waimea to Waikoloa (on the Big Island) to Kapalua and Wailea (on Maui) or Poipu, Kaua‘i, Merriman churns out his comfort food twists on local fare—and he does it well. So when we walked into Monkeypod Kitchen—his newest creation, on the tony hillside at Wailea  Gateway Center—a few weeks ago following the Maui Film Festival, it wasn’t long after passing through the door that the words “Why isn’t there something like this on O‘ahu?!” escaped my lips. Well, the wait is over. Almost.
Chef Merriman just announced the second outpost of Monkeypod will reside on the azure shores of West O‘ahu, at the Ko‘Olina Resort, mid-2012.

So, best we can do is talk about the recent experience on Maui, which will hopefully be duplicated. The first sense to be ignited is the overwhelmingly pleasant whiff of burning mesquite, or kiawe, that fills the eatery’s interior. Monkeypod (which recently opened in February of this year) boasts an open kitchen concept, with a massive woodburning stove, kept aglow by a healthy supply of local woods. Nearly every dish makes some sort of use of this feature; we launched into a Father’s Day lunch with wood-fired chicken wings with a homemade blue cheese fondue dipping sauce. We chased the guilt away with a local spinach and Kula strawberry salad topped with candied walnuts, Point Reyes blue cheese and Maui onion.

Although delectable pizzas came whizzing past our table (one to note was the roasted butternut squash white pie with caramelized onions, rosemary and pine nuts) and no shortage of Pete’s own signature burger, however, we decided to “go deep” with his homemade gniocci, clouds of which arrived with local chard, Hamakua mushrooms and Surfing Goat chevre. The plate was so well balanced that even though we shared the dish bight-for-bight, it was a near-perfect composition.

Most will relish in this fact; nearly the entire wall that spans the backside of the bar is laden with working taps emblazoned with microbrews from Oregon to Kona and Brussels. That’s right; along with your woody dishes are a choice of some 35+ brews on tap, served at a precise 29 degrees. Thank you, Sir Merriman.

We’ll keep you posted as we get closer to launch date, ideally this time, next year, according to an inside source. In the meantime, roll on over to www.monkeypodkitchen.com for a peek at what’s to come on O‘ahu. Or, better yet, get over to Wailea and sample some for yourself.

The bar is laden with working taps emblazoned with microbrews from Oregon to Kona and Brussels. That’s right; along with your woody dishes are a choice of some 35+ brews on tap, served at a precise 29 degrees. Thank you, Sir Merriman.