Japengo’s awards could fill this page. It’s located in the Hyatt Regency Maui. ‘Aipono Awards for Best Pacific Rim, Best Asian, Best Sushi. And the list goes on.
The $5 million elegantly spiffed up space consists of an indoor sushi lounge and open-air areas, arranged like a small Japanese village with nooks and separate levels. Widely spaced tables, satiny dark wood and understated Heath ceramic dinnerware bring Zen-like serenity to the restaurant.
You can see the ocean, but Japengo is removed from the hubbub on the Ka‘anapali Beach walk or the Hyatt lobby.
The cuisine matches the refined atmosphere with ideas from across the Pacific Rim interpreted with island produce, fish and meat.
You’ll want to wolf down every morsel of miso-glazed salmon or duck sliders, but sharing is recommended. An assortment of sushi the chef’s selection of the day’s freshest fish, surrounded with ruffs of seaweed. As expected, ahi and hamachi appear on the platter, but perhaps soft shell crab, fermented soybeans and eel as well.
Entrees arrive in deep bowls, the better to catch the delicious mirin sauce and glistening fried rice. At dessert, crème brulee in a coconut shell spoils any other version of this dessert.