Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Plantation Gardens

Plantation Gardens is located in a beautifully restored plantation manor located at Poipu Beach on the sunny south side of Kauai. Dating back to the 1930's, the estate once served as the plantation manager's home for Hawaii's first sugar plantation, the Koloa plantation. Later, the estate was acquired by the Moir Family who built the world famous gardens that surround the restaurant. The menu reflects the heritage of old plantation Hawaii, which celebrates the abundance and beauty of the Hawaiian Islands and features Pacific Rim cuisine with regional Hawaiian influence. Outdoor lanai seating, handcrafted tropical drinks and specialty cocktails, and complimentary parking is available.

Fresh fish is caught daily by local fishermen in waters off Kauai. They use organically grown vegetables and herbs picked fresh on nearby farms and from our own gardens. Guests may choose to dine on the lanai overlooking tranquil gardens, lily ponds and tropical foliage or in the exquisitely refurbished dining room which features gorgeous Brazilian cherry wood floors, woven bamboo tables and plantation ceiling fans. We were seated on the lanai and I admired all the original architecture of the plantation house as we walked through, which provided a wonderful ambience. The menu really showcased the local and organic ingredients.  Many of the appetizers looked unique and were tempting. To start, Keith I decided on the house-made BBQ Kalua Pork Manapuas, which are an Asian steamed bun stuff with meat.  The buns had excellent consistency, but the meat inside was a bit too dry.  Usually Kalua pork is quite moist from its preparation, but the pork here needed a sauce especially in the dry bun.  The pickled papaya slaw with it was a nice tart accompaniment though.  Not sure if my palate was tiring from all the seafood and Hawaiian cuisine we'd been indulging in, but the vegetarian entree really called out to me.  The Edamame Quinoa was elegantly presented with the bright green colors from the edamame puree.  The mushroom provided a meaty substitute that was satisfying.  I am glad I ordered it this time because it was very tasty and light, but I definitely would want to return to Plantations Gardens to try one of their fish entrees.  Keith chose the Chef's Trio, which came with seafood lau lau, a combination of fish, shrimp and scallops in a soy marinade wrapped in a Ti leaf; grilled fish of the day, which was ahi; and pot roast.  He enjoyed the fish, but the beef piece was just a small sliver.  A price you pay to sample the variety. For dessert, we opted for the Local Lilikoi Cheesecake, which was decadent and light at the same time with the charred marshmallow-like topping and sweet and sour passion fruit sauce. I really enjoyed this restaurant, it was one of the best we dined at in Hawaii and I would like to return.  The food was well above par and the prices were more reasonable than any of the other places we dined at.  The gardens around the house were well manicured and exotic and although hard to see all the details while we were there at night, we could still appreciate the atmosphere.

Total Rating: 4.15
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 5, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
House-made BBQ Kalua Pork Manapuas
Green Papaya and Mango Namasu

Edamame Quinoa
Garden Fresh Herbs, Edamame Puree and Citrus Marinated Portobello Mushroom

Local Lilikoi Cheesecake
Sun Baked Crème Fraîche and Passion Fruit Cheesecake
on a Graham Cracker Crust  

Plus Keith ate:

Chef's Trio
Seafood Lau Lau, Grilled Fresh Fish, Pot Roast
served with brown rice
Plantation Gardens on Urbanspoon

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