Monday, February 8, 2010
Monettes is an upscale French/American Steak and Seafood fine dining restaurant at the Mauna Kea Hotel on the Island of Hawaii. Cindy and I tried it as our "night out" on Saturday Night. Everything about the restaurant was sophisticated and classy. I found this place after searching Internet reviews for a great new find on the Kohala Coast. The restaurant has a nice waterfront view from high above the water - unfortunately The Mauna Keas doesn't light this part of their waterfront so once night fell you could not see the ocean. But the room itself was plenty nice.
Basically everything is ala carte or tasting menus. The fish and seafood sections of the menu are extensive and you select how you want it prepared, what sauce you want, and choose sides independently of the main course. There was also a nice selection of appetisers, salads, etc. and a good wine list with a very decent by the glass wine list.
The meal started with the only food or drink disappointment of the evening - an amuse of gougeres which was dry and not yummy. However, a nice glass of French Macon chardonnay for me and a really neat ice tea "service" (Ice tea made at the table) for Cindy offset that.
I had been warned in several of the reviews about non attentive service but so far there seemed to be a large staff, very friendly, and very professional. We perused the menus and waited for our server to come and take our order. Unfortunately, she did not do that - so after about 15 minutes I asked the waiter standing by the next table to let our waitress know we were ready to order. He was very helpful and actually had us give him the order to give to her. Cindy ordered a crabcake appetiser and a small Fillet of Beef with a Hollandiase Sauce for her main. I ordered and Lobster and Avocado Salad, and a "red meat" Veal Chop with a Moral Crust and a Cabernet demi sauce. Red Meat veal is basically a chop from a young beef cattle vs the normal white meat from a dairy male calf. We also ordered Bok Choy with Mac Nut butter, and a Gratin of 75% white potato and 25% sweet potato.
The appetisers were both very well conceived and executed. They were absolutely delicious and beautiful. The main courses and the vegetables were equally beautiful, well executed, and delicious. The ingredient quality was also outstanding. Basically, I wanted to try to execute everything we had at home in the near future and that is a big compliment. I also enjoyed a nice Santa Barbara Pinot Noir with the Veal Chop.
Our server checked in with us several times during thee meal when we really pretty obviously didn't need anything. However, once the staff cleared away the main course plates she was nowhere to be seen. We were full but wanted to see what the desserts would look like. After about 15 minutes of waiting she appeared with dessert menus but we had already decided we were not going to give her a chance to have us wait another 15 minutes before she returned to take a dessert order - So I gave her my credit card and asked her to bring the check. The servers weird service lapses were not explainable by any lack of good attitude, kitchen performance, or lack of staff to customer ratio. I just think she was not a "natural/intuitive" server and probably thought people would want to linger or something. I know our Blog is Called Between Courses - but she took that too literally.
I would really highly recommend this restaurant - If you experience the same service problems we did I would suggest just asking any of the staff who appear to retrieve your server for you - Don't let it spoil the evening as they are really quite happy to help you.