One example is the filet mignon meatballs, which if you think about it, are tricky to make well. Meatballs should be full of flavor and moist, moist, moist. The primary quality of filet mignon, on the other hand, is that it is very tender and lean. Of course it will make dry, nearly tasteless balls of meat if overcooked (which it often is).
There are some items that are better prepared, including a cioppino with lobster, scallops, crabs and fish that satisfies anyone’s cravings di mare. We’ve had good steaks with competent sauces, and the salads are generous and generally fresh. They’re just all so expensive, and we’re not sure the gorgeous view is enough to justify the price tag.
The restaurant is very proud of its service, or “hospitality.” According to Webster’s, hospitality is defined as the “friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.” We’re afraid that Sarento’s staff exhibits less hospitality—which is genuine, unforced, and relaxed—and more of what Miss Manners calls “fits of hospitality.”
A fit of hospitality is entertaining people who do not want to be entertained; or entertaining when you can’t genuinely put your heart in it. The feeling that we’re entering a place where we will be entertained with at-your-elbow-service, whether we like it or not (and we don’t)—is a serious problem at Sarento’s.
We know some people who love the doting service—who think it’s wonderful that they take a sip of water and someone immediately tops off the glass—love the clasped hands and practiced smiles. We’re just saying that for this kind of money you can have a glorious Italian meal at Capische? or Ferraro’s. You may not be hovered over, but you might also enjoy your food more.
Sarento’s, located at 2980 S. Kīhei Road in Kīhei, next to the Mana Kai, is open nightly for dinner from 5:30 to 10 p.m.; bar until midnight.
Call 875-7555 and visit www.tristarrestaurants.com/sarentos_maui.