Story by Becky Speere | Photography by Nina Kuna
Live, love, surf . . . and cook. That’s the mantra of three surfing buddies who met while working at a top Maui restaurant, and started imagining a restaurant business of their own. Five years later, chef/owners Travis Morrin, Jaron Blosser and Cody Christopher have seen their business grow like a liliko‘i vine whose tendrils embrace all things culinary: a hip restaurant in Kihei called Three’s Bar & Grill; Three’s Food Truck, which travels to various spots around the island (and rewards a free meal to the first person to spot the truck and post a photo on Three’s Facebook wall); and Three’s Catering, which dishes up fare for weddings, events at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, and Pacific Whale Foundation’s nightly dinner cruise.
So how do three surfer dudes manage that triple threat? Organization. Blosser serves as general manager, Christopher is the restaurant’s executive chef, and Morrin directs catering and food-truck events. Despite that division of duties, “We are all very hands-on,” says Chef Travis. “The beauty of the business is the fusion of flavors each of us brings to every dish.”
At the 2014 ‘Aipono Restaurant Awards, a gala held in April at the Four Seasons Resort Maui, 350 restaurant professionals happily munched on Three’s appetizers. Icy-cold Kumamoto oysters on the half-shell with shiso ponzu, kimchee granita and pomegranate provided a tiny, refreshing, umami bite. Embracing Peruvian flavors that are trending in mainland restaurants, Chef Travis created an appetizer of Duroc pork shoulder with Surfing Goat Dairy cheese mousse, pohole lomi (fiddlehead fern shoot, tomatoes and onion tossed with Hawaiian rock salt), and a tequila-lime marinade that juxtaposed a salty, creamy and tart flavor profile with the crunch of a fried sweet potato chip.
Summertime appetites tend toward grab-and-go eating, so Chef Travis was kind enough to share his technique for green dragon roll, an “inside-out” maki sushi. This sushi lover’s delight has a generous filling of crabmeat and unagi rolled with cucumbers and daikon sprouts, avocado, and just enough rice to hold it all together. “We use just a little rice and lots of crab meat and unagi, so you can taste the seafood,” says Chef Travis. As the unagi sauce, spicy masago mayo, and sweet chili glaze meet the green dragon roll, you may decide this is the best roll you’ve ever eaten.
[vc_button title=”Green Dragon Roll Sushi Recipe” target=”_self” color=”red” size=”size_large” href=”http://mauimagazine.net/green-dragon-roll/”]
FYI: New brick and mortar ventures are brewing. Look for more of Three’s on Maui in 2015.
Three’s Bar & Grill
1945 S. Kihei Road, Kihei
879-3133 • threesbarandgrill.com
633-6497 • threescateringmaui.com