Voyager brings back Flying Lobster Buffet

When Max Messmer took over as Director of Food and Beverage for the Courtyard Marriott’s Voyager restaurant, he set out to completely overhaul the menu. And he did – except for one thing that he resurrected from the past. After talking to hotel staff who fondly remember a time from years ago when the hotel offered the famous buffet on the Eastside, he decided to bring the Flying Lobster back.

To build excitement among the staff, Messmer had T-shirts printed up that they could wear on the first day. Messmer was wearing his T-shirt when he had to unexpectedly run out to pick up additional supplies, and he was surprised at the reaction.

“I couldn’t believe it – people saw the T-shirt and they stopped to ask me if we were bringing the buffet back,” he said.

They did. Every Friday during dinner hours from 5:30 to 9 p.m. the Voyager restaurant in Kapaa is offering the Flying Lobster Buffet, which is named as a tribute to the Voyager restaurant’s former name.

Each diner gets one 6-ounce North Atlantic lobster tail, and then it is an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring slow roasted prime rib, pineapple chicken, Kalau-style pork, mahi mahi and seafood pasta entrees, plus appetizers, side dishes and dessert. The price is $51 for adults, $29 for children under 12.

If you haven’t been to Voyager in a while, you’ll be excited to find that the dinner and breakfast menus are all new.

The seafood options are the most popular: grilled ono, mahi mahi topped with sauteed prawns, garlic crusted ahi tuna.

Edana Harrel has worked as a server at the restaurant for more than two years, and now she loves fish even though she never did before moving here.

“I never used to eat sea food,” she said. “Now I love it. Everything is so fresh!”

If you aren’t in the mood for seafood, Edana recommends the stuffed chicken breast with boursin cheese, a 16-ounce rib steak or the pasta carbonara. Portions are large, the pasta carbonara comes in a giant bowl and can easily be shared by two.

Be warned: If you ask Edana for suggestions, her enthusiasm for the menu makes it even harder to pick.

“Everything is so organic that sometimes when we get our arugula, there are pieces of grass with it,” she said.

The kitchen, of course, makes sure none ends up in your Kula Strawberry Salad.

One thing you’ll want to note is that you probably don’t want to eat here if you are in a hurry. Crowds of tourists aren’t a problem, but it can take a little longer to get your meal because the chef does not cook your food until it is ordered so that it is fresher and better tasting. But this isn’t the kind of place where you rush through a meal anyway.

The high-quality food and large portion sizes provide good value for money. Expect to pay $28 to $45 for an entrée, with many options on the less expensive end of that range.

You won’t forget that you are in Hawaii while dining at the Voyager. The dining area blends seamlessly from the outside to the upscale inside, but you could just as easily believe you are eating in a high-end restaurant in downtown Chicago. Softly-glowing pillars bathe the room in orange light and divide the room, providing a quieter, intimate experience.

The hotel’s Makai Lounge offers a happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. Drinks include the Roasted Habanero Margarita or the Lava Flow. Heineken is most popular with locals.

The Voyager’s breakfast buffet is a hit, especially with the after-church crowd. It’s $22.95 and includes and omelet station, or you can order a la carte. Try the Loco Moco – a hamburger patty on top of stewed rice with an egg sunny-side up or over-easy, topped with mushroom gravy. Or go for the Hawaiian French Toast with banana pineapple chutney.

Breakfast is served from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays; it is open until 11 a.m. on the weekend.

The Voyager restaurant is located inside the Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach, 650 Aleka Loop, Kapaa.

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