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Moose McGillycuddy’s known for wholesome, delicious dishes

By Staff | Aug 12, 2010

From left, Kitchen Manager Miguel Reyes, Operating Partner George Watson and Executive Chef Carlos Magalhaes display five fine lunch entrees: (from left) Royal Canadian Burger, Chicken and Penne Pasta, Fried Chicken Salad and Shrimp Tacos. Photo by Rob Reed.

LAHAINA — Where can one go in Lahaina Town where everybody knows your name and they’ll be really glad you came? Well, of course, that favorite old Front Street eatery, Moose McGillycuddy’s Bar & Grill!

Since opening on Valentine’s Day in 1983, Moose McGillycuddy’s has been Lahaina’s own affordable restaurant, where large portions of wholesome, delicious dishes are served at reasonable prices. Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Moose’s is the place to dine!

The popular Three Egg Omelet on the Breakfast Menu is so large, we always have to share one. There is an immense range of taste tempters to choose from, including Eggs Benedict and the ever-popular Loco Moco.

George Watson, the operating partner of Maui Moose Inc. and a graduate of prestigious Stanford University, participated in creating the original menu on Oahu in 1980.

“The menus were a group effort and have remained the core to this day,” said George. “Besides our Certified Angus Beef burgers, our signature items include Fresh Fish Tacos, Slow-cooked Prime Rib and Kalua Pig Quesadillas.”

“The Lahaina Moose has just rolled out an unbelievable Dinner Special on Thursday night,” George added. “A juicy Prime Rib and Spiny Lobster Tail for only $19.95. It’s been very successful!”

The Moose expanded to Kihei in 2006 with their San Diego concept, Fred’s Mexican Cafe, downstairs, and now another fine Moose McGillycuddy’s Restaurant upstairs!

And the talented chef in charge of the extensive menu of both Moose’s locations is Carlos Eduardo Magalhaes from Brazil.

“Buenos días (good morning),” Chef Carlos greeted us.

“I was always in the kitchen during my childhood in Brazil. We had a cook who was also my nanny as a child, and I was always asking her questions about what was cooking on the stove. As a teenager, I was in charge of food whenever we went camping or had parties,” he continued.

“When I was 20 years old, I went to London and got a job in a Greek restaurant as a cook. Within a month, the owner would leave the kitchen and place me in charge of the whole restaurant.

“After a year, I returned to Brazil, married, and then my new wife and I moved to Los Angeles and worked as a couple to care for a wealthy family. I became their private chef. They sent me to private cooking classes and workshops, and often they would ask us to go with them to their favorite restaurant to try dishes they liked so I could duplicate them at home. I owe this family a lot for my culinary experience. I worked with them for 11 good years.

“The couple had two residences,” Carlos continued, “one in California and one in Arizona. I had the best of both worlds — summer in Southern California and winters in Arizona. When my two daughters began attending school, it became difficult to keep moving between the two homes So we decided to move to Hawaii. In Maui I worked at the Kihei Prime rib for six years until Fred’s and Moose took over in 2005 and they kept me as their head chef. I am very happy to be a member of the Moose family.”

During our interview in Lahaina, it was a pleasure sampling the chef’s cuisine, beginning with an appetizer of crispy St. Louis-style Baked Ravioli with a piquet Marinara dipping sauce — smooth and delicious.

Next, we enjoyed an unusual-but-elegant Fried Chicken Salad with a BBQ and Blue Cheese Dressing — a surprising but delicious combination.

Other new salads include the Pacific Rim Calamari and Shrimp or Mahi Caesar Salad.

A hearty entree is the new Chicken and Penne Pasta in a tantalizing Vodka Cream-Marinara Sauce. A week later, when we had an appointment in Kihei, we tried the excellent Shrimp and Penne Pasta at the new Moose McGillycuddy’s. It was exceptional served with crispy Garlic Bread. Both pasta entrees are served at the Lahaina and Kihei restaurants.

The Royal Canadian Burger topped with a golden Fried Egg is a clever new burger — a tribute to our northern neighbors — with the yoke shimmering down over the burger and the bun.

For shrimp devotees, try the succulent Shrimp Taco enveloped in a soft tortilla. The shrimp sautéed in garlic butter and cajun spices just bursts with flavor with the very first bite. Or have a go with the new Calamari Taco.

Huge tacos have always been winners at McGillycuddy’s.  On Taco Tuesday night, all tacos are only $2.95 to $3.95 — a real taco bargain!

As West Mauians, we try to avoid having appointments in Kihei, not only for the extra driving time, but now wasting expensive gas! But now with the new McGillycuddy’s in Kihei, it is a trip to look forward to! It is located just across from a beautiful beach, and the cool ocean breezes make it a lovely place to dine.

For pupus, we ordered our favorite crispy Potato Skins stuffed with potatoes, black beans, cheddar and jack cheese, crumbled bacon and chopped green onions. No matter how sophisticated one’s taste buds become, there is nothing more satisfying than lush, moist, hot potato skins!

And if you really want an absolutely succulent, sweet-tasting treat, do order Moose’s marvelous Kalua Pig Quesadillas — to use an old phrase, it is to die for!

And just why is this kalua pig so tender and juicy? It is slow-cooked for 12 hours in an Alto Shaam Halo Heat Electric oven with liquid smoke for flavoring. The elements wrap around the meat, thus leaving the pork just absolutely succulent! This is also how they cook their prime rib — a favorite with guests.

“I love to cook and I think it shows with the food that I serve,” said genial Chef Carlos in closing. “I’m very dedicated to my job and McGillycuddy’s!”

We would agree that not only is Chef Carlos one very nice Brazilian gentleman, he is one classic chef!

For over 27 years, Moose McGillycuddy’s Bar & Grill has been serving great food at great prices — your friendly eatery where everybody will be awfully glad you came! Buenos noches (good night)!

The Lahaina restaurant is located at 844 Front St. (call 667-7758), and the Kihei Moose is located at 2511 S. Kihei Road (call 891-8600).

Pau for now…