From discovering farm to table tacos in Vermont, lobster benedict in Key West, or a loco moco in Hawaii, food is key when we travel as a family. Good local food. On a family trip to Maui, our first of what I hope will be many, we enjoyed a lot of local dishes and establishments but one of our favourite family meals out had to be Market Night at Duo.
DUO Steak and Seafood is one of three restaurants you’ll find at the Four Seasons Maui in Wailea. We have yet to stay at a Four Seasons Resort but it has a reputation as a kid-friendly resort that also caters to the needs of adults. The beautiful beachfront property is one of the few resorts on the island that doesn’t charge guests a resort fee but still offers a number of inclusive features such as cabanas accessible to all guests, a children’s day program to occupy the kids, and luxury perks like chilled towels and sunscreen.
Whether you’re a guest of the resort or just stopping in to enjoy dinner, I highly recommend starting your evening at the resort’s Lobby Lounge. The staff welcomes you like an old friend, offering delicious cocktails while you gaze across the beautiful grounds out to the water below.
Located on the pool level, DUO, like many of the dining spots at this resort, takes advantage of the lovely Hawaiian weather and beautiful ocean views. View aside I was really looking forward to the food. Executive Chef Craig Dryhurst has made it his mission to support community farmers and fisherman by locally sourcing ingredients for the Resort’s restaurants whenever possible. Head chef of DUO Steak and Seafood Michael Wilson incorporates many of these items in the restaurant’s weekly Market Night, a concept to connect guests with the food from local producers.
“The Market Night concept was born out of the desire to provide our guests with an authentic local experience,” says Stephane Castera, Director of Food and Beverage. “It allows us to highlight Maui’s amazing agricultural community and the gorgeous products that are grown here in a fresh new way that guests are really enjoying.”
The fact that DUO has been entertaining guests at Market Night for almost a year is a sign that the concept appeals to diners and the booked tables concur.
When we arrived our hostess walked us through the various stations, from salad and charcuterie to fresh seafood and meat, all while explaining the Market Night concept. The layout reminded me of a high-end farmers market without the crowds. At our table, a herb centrepiece reminded us of the various local producers represented at Market Night resulting in a menu that is approximately 70 percent locally sourced, with items that support upwards of 60 local fisherman, ranchers and farmers.
Before diving into the extensive menu we had to start our night with a handmade cocktail. Our waiter provided us with an iPad that enabled us to sort through the cocktail selection and read the ingredients. There was even a mocktail menu for those abstaining from alcohol, a choice many are making for health reasons, or for the kids.
Mai Tai in hand it was time for a starter. The Maui Produce Stand that greets you when you enter the restaurant not only invites you to create your own custom salad using the freshest local ingredients; it also benefits local kids too.
For each salad sold DUO donates one dollar to Grow Some Good, the nonprofit program dedicated to creating hands-on outdoor learning experiences to connect students to their food sources. Can you think of a better reason to start your meal with a robust salad?
If salad isn’t your thing, DUO offers an extensive charcuterie table during Market Night. Unlike a standard menu option you are invited to grab a board and load up with a selection of cured meats, onions, and pickles that you can refill throughout your evening.
Instead we focused on the Pupus section of the menu (Hawaiian for appetizers) and ordered a plate of three Crispy Crab Tacos with crushed avocado and miso dressing to share. No matter how tempted I was to order the tacos as my main dish, the other options presented on the menu were far too tempting.
For smaller family members there is a keiki menu and although we’re usually not fans of food menus for kids due to their lack of inspiration, my youngest was pleased to have steak as an option. For a child who is really picky and only sticks to the basics, you might be interested in the Keiki buffet with vegetable sticks, chicken fingers, fries and jam sandwiches. The buffet option means they can stop by the table anytime and often throughout the meal though if your child has a small appetite you might find this option pricey.
DUO also offers a Keiki corner where kids are welcome to come and go as they please during dinner. Here they’ll find supervised games, activities, and crafts to keep them busy while you enjoy dinner. My youngest loved the option of interacting with other kids and colouring while we talked over drinks at our table.
For those with slightly bigger appetites than the children’s menu delivers and lower prices than quoted on the main menu, DUO offers a teen menu. As the offerings were still pretty basic, my two oldest decided to choose from the Market Night menu.
My son enjoyed his Keahole Lobster Mac & Cheese so much that he didn’t even offer up a sample bite for fear of missing even a bit of his meal (pictured on right next to keiki steak). My oldest is all about steak; she gets that from her father. Her Filet Mignon was so tender, enabling her to cut through it without any effort. My husband was just as impressed with his Rib Eye, finding the cut and cook done to perfection. Overlooking the ocean I had to choose the Pan Seared Local Catch, which was Wahoo, a local Ono fish and I wasn’t disappointed.
As part of the Market Night experience, certain menu items enabled guests to hand select their seafood or meat cuts from the overflowing display case if they desired but we were more than willing to leave our choice up to the chef.
While the sun set, candles were lit at the table and torches flickered around the deck. The ocean breeze felt delightful as we enjoyed our meal, listening to the sound of the evening’s entertainment.
I was all for prolonging our night over a selection of desserts. There was no need to ask the kids what they wanted after they saw dessert served to the table beside us. One, two, three orders of the handmade Make-It-Yourself Sundae it was. The kids were able to choose two ice cream flavours and then customize their creation with a variety of toppings presented in little jars. I noticed it wasn’t just kids who opted for this sweet treat but being in Hawaii I had to go for pineapple.
The Four Seasons Maui prides itself on delivering healthy lifestyle needs if desired. As a hotel guest you can book a free consultation to help establish a Wellness Your Way plan covering spa treatments, fitness classes and culinary dishes. The staff at DUO can help you with dish suggestions during Market Night to meet your health requirements. In addition to the desserts we ordered we were also treated to a chocolate mouse, which to my surprise was completely vegan! Eating healthy has never tasted so decadently sweet.
Our Market Night dinner experience far exceeded my expectations in food quality, environment, and service. I can only assume the other restaurants would deliver the same high standards. After our dining experience I have a desire to experience the whole Four Seasons experience and perhaps we will make it a stop should we be on the island again.
Our Market Night experience was hosted by the folks Four Seasons Maui for the purpose of this review.