*how we rate restaurants
In a nutshell: A reasonably priced inventive and inspired twist on Asian/Local food.
Minuses: Out of the way in Maui’s version of a light industrial park.
UPDATE: May 2011 - There have been some consistency issues; rave reviews still coming in, but mixed in some really poor reviews have started showing up on TA and Yelp in enough numbers to warrant a (hopefully temporary) rating adjustment. If you dine here let us know what you think! We will show up there again soon (we though it was good when we had lunch there last summer!)
We categorized it as "Local Food" but this place has a metropolitan twist that really puts it in its own category. Descriptions like "Asian Fusion" have been used to describe the place - but whatever you want to call it - it's broke da mouth delicious.
Star Noodle is located off the beaten tourist path, at the top of a largely undeveloped industrial park above Lahaina. The location seems a bit odd as you drive uphill, away from...um...everything - especially when you're used to virtually everything in Lahaina being packed like sardines on Front Street.
Once inside, the decor and ambiance also fly in the face of any industrial expectations - this is more like the kind of "modern-chic" that you would expect in a converted New York City warehouse. Modern, trendy and Asian themed with contemporary use of woods, glass and stone throughout.
In fact, the parallel with New York goes further than the surface - the chef and staff went to the top noodle houses in NYC during the development stage for inspiration - and that is where they polished the metropolitan influence on this concept that is so perfectly Maui.
More importantly than the decor and metro influence, the food and service are absolutely spectacular.
The staff, highly competent - and packed with an extra heaping of Aloha, has clearly been hand-picked. (I'm guessing they're likely stars form the owners' other highly rated restaurants: Aloha Mixed Plate and Old Lahaina Luau.)
The dishes are inventive, but solidly grounded. The menu sports noodle dishes like ramen (with rich pork broth, roast pork, poached egg and bamboo shoots.) Local-style saimin (with spam, of course!) And more than enough variety in noodle dishes to make the name on the door stick.
But Star Noodle doesn't stop at just noodles - Share plates and bentos span the gamut as well - local favorites like musubi sit alongside Korean style seafood pancakes, and sizzling Rib-eye. Or Avo Ahi (Avocado and Ahi) and Scallops & Asparagus (seared with a delicious yuzu-miso vinaigrette) will tempt as well. The majority of dishes are served family-style, and meant to be shared and enjoyed.
Star Noodle is very much an idea born in Maui, off to the big city for a Metropolitan education, then back home to shine brighter than ever from a view of both worlds. And shine it does.
Oh, there is one surprising thing from both Maui and New York City that they seem to have left behind: the price tag.
Other Reviews: *ordered by accuracy
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