Owner [of Mala Ocean Tavern] Mark Ellman has created a jovial seaside restaurant. Describing his food as “just off the beaten path,” Ellman delights in “the pleasure of the customers. I love the industry and its characters.” Lisa Chappel, general manager at the restaurant, who has worked with Ellman for twenty years, tells me, “Mark was one of the forerunners of Pacific Rim cuisine, but what he does is mixes food from other countries.
You’ll notice Mediterranean, French, and American influences.” Much of the produce on the menu comes from local farms in Haleakala, Kula and Hana. My soup of the day is steaming hot served in an espresso cup. Ellman’s seared Ahi bruschetta with flax seed toast, edamame and 20 year old Balsamic Vinegar is vibrant, topped with edible flowers. The creaminess of the edamame puree complimenting the buttery undertones of the fish. My spicy pasta and pound of steamed manila clams is an exercise in harmonious fusion- a sensuous blend of spicy ginger black bean and red pepper flakes with black Bean Sauce.
This is an excerpt of an original article. For more about Chef Mark Ellman see the Summer 2010 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.