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Enjoy authentic Tex-Mex cuisine at Los Pelones Mexican Bar and Grill

By Staff | Aug 6, 2009

Chef Sergio Gonzales (left) and Steve Austin present a banquet of fine Mexican dishes: (clockwise from top center) Chile Verde, Chicken Cilantro, Quesadilla Platter, Ceviche, Tres Colores Enchiladas, Fresh Fish Tacos, Avocado Relleno, and in the center, Manana Ribs. Photo by Rob Reed.

LAHAINA — A veritable miracle has taken place inside the Lahaina Cannery Mall, and unless you’ve been there recently, you are unaware of the positive influence Steve Austin has made.

Entrepreneur Austin, who had been with Compadres for 11 years, has fulfilled his dream of turning the faltering restaurant into the flourishing Los Pelones Mexican Bar and Grill.

Using every resource available and spending countless hours hustling around the island, determined to keep the dedicated staff employed, Steve has put Los Pelones back in action.

From the time you step inside, you realize that Los Pelones is a family affair. The employees have banded together to make this restaurant successful, and it is obvious that the smiles on the faces of the staff are genuine, because everyone is working as an integral part of a team rather than just a server.

And from South of the Border is Head Chef Sergio Gonzales. Incorporating his countless years in the food service industry with his cultural upbringing, Sergio has created a menu unique to Lahaina and unparalleled to all other competitors.

“I told Sergio to dispose of any remnants of the former menus and make a new one,” said an enthusiastic Steve, “and Sergio did just that. We even installed new kitchen equipment and air-conditioning.”

Chef Sergio integrated his mother’s traditional recipes from Sonora, Mexico, with the distinct flavor of “Tex-Mex” that Steve grew up with.

“I started with one of the most important aspects, the sauces,” said Chef Sergio. “From a traditional deep Red Mole Sauce to a spicy Homemade House Salsa, Los Pelones offers limitless diverse sauces.”

“Using only island products, Sergio creates exclusive sauces for each individual meat to be basted and slow-roasted for full flavor,” said Steve. “What makes Los Pelones unique from most other restaurants is not only the original menu, but the sole premise that every food item used is a local Hawaiian product. The only meat we use carries the Maui Cattle Company stamp. Why, even the tortillas are made in Kihei.”

Well, we were treated to a superb Mexican feast, and every dish was served with huge portions, starting with the attractive Chile Verde — chunks of pork slow-cooked in Tomatillo/Chile Sauce and served beautifully in a flour tortilla shaped like a bowl with choice of beans or rice and tortillas. One wonders how the tortilla bowl can hold the weight of the tender pork!

The flavorful, tender strips of chicken in the Chicken Cilantro dish are sauteed in a fresh Tomatillo Sauce with garlic, onions, white wine, lime juice and cilantro, then topped with cheese. It is also served with one’s choice of beans, rice and warm tortillas.

The Chile Rellanos are amazing! A fire-roasted Anaheim Chile is peeled, stuffed with two cheeses, fried in an egg batter, smothered with Ranchero Sauce and served with refried beans and rice.

My all-time favorite is the Quesadilla Platter, presented like a pointed star surrounding a huge mound of the ultimate guacamole and sour cream. The flour tortillas are stuffed with cheese, green chiles and your choice of chicken, beef or chorizo and Monterey Jack Cheese.

A really cool, refreshing dish is the Ceviche with Fresh Fish of the Day cooked with lime juice, peppers, onions and spices.

Enchilada devotees will really enjoy the Tres Colores Enchiladas — three heavenly enchiladas, one cheese covered in Green Sauce, one Beef Enchilada with Red Sauce, and the third, Chicken in Ranchero Sauce. It’s simply superb!

We’ve never had better Fresh Fish Tacos — succulent fish from the sea, Cajun spiced and sauteed, served on corn tortillas with lettuce and a Tomato Vinaigrette and topped with salsa.

Someone in your party should order the beautifully prepared Avocado Relleno — a ripe avocado split and filled with your choice of Seafood Mix, Baked Spiced Chicken or Shredded Beef, then topped with green chiles, two cheeses and salsa over black beans. It’s not only healthful, but attractive and utterly delicious.

Each dish is picturesque, beautifully presented and I would venture to say, Soul-Satisfying!

My partner and I had already raved to one another about each dish as it was presented, and then we were served the fabulous Manana Ribs — so tender, the pork is just falling off the bones. The flavor is pure ecstasy! The ribs are slow-cooked with Mango Barbecue Sauce and served with whole pinto beans and grilled corn with chipotle butter.

Los Pelones offers fantastic combinations and selections never served before in a Mexican Restaurant. The ingenuity and flavor of each dish on the menu is incredible!

And you don’t only have to come in for lunch and dinner. How about starting your day with an amazing Breakfast Menu! Yes, they serve breakfast, too!

There are eight Traditional Breakfast items for only $9! Try their Huevos Rancheros or Eggs Benedict, Scrambled Eggs for only $8 and Grande Omelets at $10.50. And for those born and raised on Maui, they serve the favorite Loco Mocos, local-style or Mexican-style! How can you not want to try this extraordinary restaurant, Los Pelones? You’ll want to return again and again.

Other fine specials are offered, too. The original Taco Tuesday is back, when tacos are only $1 each, and on Sundays, keiki eat free (one keiki 12 years old and under per paying adult). And don’t forget Happy Hour — Mexican beers and House Margaritas are served every day from 3 to 6 p.m. for $3.

When I raved about the generous portions, Bald Guy (Los Pelones means “the bald guys”) Steve Austin said, “We’re not eat two bites and you’re done; we want to feed people!”

Steve wants to thank and give credit to his phenomenal staff and family. He also thanked the owners of Lahaina Cannery Mall for not only allowing him to make this location his home, but also for allowing him to take his ideas and run with them.

Having a motorcycle and car show in a mall parking lot is not possible in most other places, but the Cannery Mall made this entertaining event possible.

Finally, he appreciates the support from the local residents of Lahaina and restaurant visitors.

“From day one, the community has been extraordinarily welcoming. We wouldn’t be here without the support given to us. From Aloha to Yee-ha, everyone is welcomed,” Austin said.

For authenticity in Tex-Mex cuisine, do visit Los Pelones charming old Mexican Bar & Grill — it’s Mexican cuisine at its finest. Call 661-9900.

Pau for now…