ADDRESS: 4310 Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Suite #111, Lahaina, HI 96761
It came time to move on to the island of Maui for my family’s vacation, and this also meant that it was time to try a restaurant I had been looking forward to since the trip started. I had initially stumbled across Miso Phat when looking on Yelp for some more Japanese restaurants to add to our itinerary; this one stuck out due to its humorous play on words. It also happened that the restaurant was extremely well rated and the photos of their dishes looked amazing. We then decided that it was definitely a lock for our first dinner on that island, and I’m extremely glad that we got to check out this phenomenal sushi spot.
I think that this restaurant could classify as a hole-in-the-wall, as it’s nestled away in the midst of a small office complex. Some of the reviews I had read mentioned to arrive at the restaurant early, with seating being very limited and it could get crowded real fast. Heeding this advice, we got there around 4:30 p.m. to grab an early dinner. Those reviews weren’t wrong about the capacity. Inside, there was only seating enough for about 20 people, and that’s already packing it in a little bit between the tables and sushi bar. Lucky for us, there was only one other table occupied when we got there, so we were able to sit down at a table immediately.
The gentleman that greeted us at the door seemed to wear many hats at the restaurant, since he also took our orders, gave us our food, refilled our drinks, rang us up, and cleared the tables. After he gave us our menus, he explained that the owner of the restaurant also had his own fishing boat (aptly named the “Shiso Phat”) and that almost all the fish served in the restaurant was caught in-house.
After looking over the menu a few times, it was still difficult to decide what to order. All of the sushi rolls sounded amazing just based on their description alone. Three of us had planned to order rolls anyway, so we decided just to get six rolls total to sample the menu, each person choosing two each. Out of all twelve specialty rolls available, we chose the Miso Phat Roll, TNT Roll, 69 Roll, Rockin Roll, TNA Roll, and Caterpillar Roll. Luckily, we had built up quite an appetite, because that turned out to be a massive amount of sushi to finish. All of us had fresh memory of a rather poor sushi showing from Monstera Noodles & Sushi the night before, so we were hoping this place could redeem our impression of sushi on Hawaii.
Presentation is a big part of the dining experience, and it’s commonly said that you eat with your eyes first. When our plate of sushi got dropped off at the table, I couldn’t help but say “wow” and marvel at the work of art before me.
It was a beautiful array of colors laid out on the plate, with each roll having its own look. Even now, looking back on the photos while I’m writing this post, I’m getting hungry all over again! The ingredients combined together were able to develop multiple layers of flavor; some of the combinations were different than anything I’ve tried and everything just tasted so fresh.
Out of all of them, however, I think that my favorite is going to have to be the TNT Roll. Shrimp tempura and crab wrapped with avocado and topped with fresh Ahi poke, served with a drizzle of unagi sauce and agave honey. It’s a properly named roll, because it’s an absolute explosion of flavor in your mouth. The Ahi poke had a deep sweet and soy sauce flavor from its marinade, with the shrimp tempura giving the roll a crunchy texture and mixing well with the slightly sweet crab. The unagi sauce and agave nectar also helped give the roll a nice sweet and savory aftertaste.
With each roll priced at $18+, things can get expensive real quick if you want to try a variety of rolls. After sampling what Miso Phat has to offer, however, that price point is something that I’m certainly willing to pay. For the quality of ingredients and refreshing flavor combinations, it probably ranks as some of the best sushi I’ve had to date. This place certainly exceeded my family’s initial expectations going in. If I can ever find a cheap flight back over to Maui (and I know that’s probably a long shot), I might just consider it just to have the chance to visit this place again.
Let’s now take a look at the Miso Phat Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** Miso Phat Roll — pictured back **
Spicy tuna roll wrapped with avocado and unagi, topped with unagi sauce, tobiko, and sesame seeds.
** Rockin Roll (Miso Groupie) — pictured front **
California roll wrapped with Hamachi, topped with scallops, and then baked. Finished off with unagi sauce, tobiko, bonito flakes, scallions, and sesame seeds.
** Caterpillar Roll (Miso Butterfly) — pictured back **
Broiled unagi roll topped with avocado slices and garnished with unagi sauce and sesame seeds.
And finally, here are my rankings for Miso Phat:
Food: 5 / 5
What more can I say? The fish tasted so fresh, the flavor combinations were both balanced and well-executed, and the wide variety of options available left me wanting to try all the rolls the chef offered.
Atmosphere: 4.5 / 5
Even though the dining area was small, the tables were spaced apart enough and it didn’t feel all too cramped. The tables were made out of finished tree trunk slices, and items bearing the Miso Phat logo hung on the wall, including a flag and several T-shirts.
Service: 5 / 5
Unfortunately, I never caught the gentleman’s name who looked after us while we were dining there, but he did a fantastic job by making us feel welcome and answering any questions we had about rolls, even providing some background info on the restaurant and offering some fish caught on their boat that wasn’t featured on the menu.
Price: 4.5 / 5
The sushi rolls here were priced higher than any other place that I’ve been to before, but I would still pay that premium in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t get any fresher than catching the ingredients yourself, and with being in a hot tourist spot such as Lahaina, I’m sure that factors into the higher cost as well.