I’m a total anglophile. I love all things British; from music to the monarchy, from gin to James Bond, my obsession and admiration is wide. So when I got word that music legend Mick Fleetwood was planning a three-level retail, club/entertainment venue/restaurant, I got giddy. That transformed into excitement when, in 2011, I met Mick at the Kona Mai Tai Festival. He was there as a judge, but we talked about his plans for a new Front Street restaurant. To calm my nerves, I knocked back a tequila shot at the Mai Tai bar and was ushered into a secret chamber where his people and the man himself gave me a turn at the media waltz.
Fleetwood is very tall, with gobs of cool to fill his stature, just like you’d expect from a rock star. His palate is impeccable–he loves to eat and has been bottling his own award-winning wine under the label Mick Fleetwood Private Cellar–so why not open a grand restaurant in Lahaina Town, with a rooftop live music venue?
Things only got better. I was very impressed to hear Chef Maro Gjurasic was joining Corporate Chef Scott Leibfried at the Fleetwood team as executive chef. I had followed Gjurasic’s career at the Plantation House restaurant, where Executive Chef Alex Stanislaw always had great things to say about what he was doing in the kitchen. Gjurasic is just one of those chefs oozing creativity–the kind you can eat. Leibfried is no slouch either, having worked on Food Network Challenge and Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen.
I will admit I pre-judged the place a bit. After the place opened a few months ago, I put my feelers out asking people about their experiences. The fantastic thing is it was all-around wonderful.
We had heard that the sunset on the rooftop was epic and some little ceremony happened that we had to check out. As the sun sets, they hold a brief ceremony that combines the traditions of Maui, torch lighting, conch-blowing and a touching blessing full of mana, all followed with a bagpipe performance. It’s serious chicken skin stuff, especially when you have one of their 16 incredible signature cocktails in your hand.
All are handcrafted using great spirits and fresh ingredients. I started with the Mick’s Margarita: Cazedoras Blanco, St. Germain, fresh lime juice, all topped with Mick’s Pinot Noir. It’s one of the cleverest cocktail menus I’ve seen, and every cocktail on the list is $14, which keeps it simple.
After the ceremony, the live music gets going. You can also get a limited menu of pupus and sandwiches on the roof. The theme upstairs is modern Morrocan, with lots of couches to share while you enjoy music, the view (makai or mauka) or imbibing. The night I visited, Mick was scheduled to play, so it was packed.
The main dining room is the mid-level part of the building, and is adorned in dark wood furniture, red velvet drapes and swathed in a bit of British decor. Half the room is truncated by a wall separating the lounge and bar dining, with cozy low couches, high tops and seats at the grand bar.
Running into lots of friends in the dining room, some had already ordered the brilliant Beef Wellington that is on special every night. It’s a classic English dish–a beef tenderloin smothered with pate, wrapped in puff pastry and baked. It’s an exquisite dish, hard to find on Maui, and is served around rare to medium rare. It comes with fries and charred broccoli, which is Mick’s favorite method of preparation. It was staggeringly good.
Other items are similarly delicious. Leibfried’s artisan thin crust flat breads all have some kind of twist, but the bangers and fingerling combo (potatoes on a pizza?) was so unusual I had to try it. It works, with the tasty roasted fingerlings and chicken sausage going so well on top, and the fontina, Maui onion and parmigiano reggiano just add more richness underneath. Also on the flat bread menu: kalua pork with dried pineapple, red onion, cilantro and pepper jack cheese. The Margarita is buffalo mozzarella and oven dried tomato with basil. They all warrant tasting.
The list of appetizers is so huge you could just eat pupu style. There’s hummus, clam chowder, calamari, wild mushroom ravioli, steamed mussels and much more. I went for the local ono ceviche, which comes with house-made corn tortilla chips. The ceviche has a generous amount of avocado on top, and the fish is fresh and bright with flavor from lime and cilantro. But it was the delicious chips that made all the difference.
We also ordered ”96761 Maui’s Best,” an incredible salad that I will order again. There, hearts of palm gave it sustenance along with the Maui Surfing Goat BBQ Chèvre, but the delicate shaved red onion, carrot and pea sprints on the greens created great texture and flavor while a white balsamic vinaigrette brought it all together.
Oh, and you must remember to save room for dessert. Their grilled pineapple spears with ice cream was fantastic. They also offer chocolate cake, an incredible cheese platter and even cookies and milk.
After we ate, it was time to get star-struck. We sashayed back to the roof to find Mick jamming on the drums while Rick Vito and Mark Johnstone played along side. The venue has live music regularly–just check our calendar listings for what’s going on.
Fleetwood’s on Front Street has more than enough square footage dedicated to fun. The memorabilia and rock star atmosphere inside is convincing, and the food and cocktail menus are solid. Anglophiles won’t be disappointed.
FLEETWOOD’S ON FRONT STREET
744 Front St., Lahaina