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Kahiki Moon, Burlington, VT (restaurant)

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JTD posted on Mon, Oct 11, 2004 9:03 AM

Name:Kahiki Moon
Street:1 Lawson Lane
Phone:802 660-4852

Fine dining and drinking in classic tiki style. Located in the downstairs of an office building in a small city (ca. 100,000). Kahiki Moon has about 15 dining booths and an L-shaped bar with about a dozen carved tiki stools. All fittings are new, but the work done by Keigs, Flounder and others makes one think this place has been there for years. Extensive drink list and daily changing food menu. Credit cards accepted (thank goodness :)).


[edited by hanford to change the status]

[ Edited by: hanford_lemoore on 2005-04-19 17:39 ]


we were in vermont for 6 nights. we ate dinner at the Kahiki Moon 3 times! (one of those nights we drove to MA to the HuKeLau, and Sundays the Kahiki Moon is closed).

i will write (and post pictures) ~ the decor, food and service and the overall wonderfulness makes this my favorite restaurant ~ 3000 miles from home!


JTD posted on Sun, Oct 17, 2004 6:58 AM

Trip report #2 (my first one went off into the ether never to be seen again). It's been a month, but the memories are pretty fresh

Burlington VT - Great little city on the shores of Lake Champlain. Also home to University of Vermont (UVM). So, on weekend nights parking is damned near impossible. I was nursing a bum leg and spent 20 minutes driving around looking for a spot before I gave up and walked a half mile or so. I recommend you stay at the nearby Wyndham Hotel for which James (Primo Kimo) can get you a discounted rate.

Kahiki Moon is in the basement of a mid-rise office building in downtown. Upon entering the lobby, the entrance to Kahiki Moon is right in front of you. Tikis beckon you down the stairs. As I went down the stairs and my field of vision opened up on the room, I got more and more excited. I could barely keep myself from bounding down the last few steps.

The hostess greeted me at the landing. Although the booths looked inviting, I opted for the bar. It was about 6:30-7:00 p.m. so the bar was pretty quiet. About half the booths were filled with early diners.

The Host: James couldn't have been any more hospitable. We chatted, he showed me around the restaurant, showed me the back office where he had a few more tikis that weren't yet on display. Kahiki Moon seems to be doing well as James was bursting with ideas on what more he could do, add things, and how to make things even better. All that on a very busy night. Cheers to Primo Kimo!

Bar & Drinks: Extensive menu of classic tiki drinks (words only, no pics). I had many and they were all well made, garnished right and serve in the appropriate tiki-bar barware. Pricey, but you get you money's worth. Lupe (?) the bartender was knowledgeable and very much a craftsman. I sat at the base of the "L"-shaped bar. That allows you to look out over the rest of the room and take in all the decor. It's also closer to the head. The bar itself has an acrylic top beneath which are classic tiki-bar paper items and photos for your viewing pleasure (when you're face down on the bar - ha). The stools are carved tikis with cushions on top. They're a little tough to maneuver, but that's a small price for having something so cool!

Fun fact: in less than two months of operation, Kahiki Moon had become the largest buyer of Rum in the State of Vermont.

Food: Fine dining. It made me think "this is what Trader Vic's should be trying to do". I had the Hawaiian Pork Chop with asparagus and sweet potato grits (or polenta or something like that). It was outstanding and Flintstone sized.

Crowd: Quiet, dinner crowd 7-9. Some couples, some work/business, a family or two.
10 p.m. and later, younger adult crowd, maybe even a few UVM seniors and grad students. Pretty crowded by 11 p.m. after live music had startd. Remained crowded until closing time.

Decor: It's awesome, but I'll let the photos tell that story. My favorite items: 1) Keigs fountain (in the Witco style, natch) behind the bar. 2) James's classic swizzle collection display. 3) The fish tank. Tons of great works by several TCers, especially Keigs and Flounder.

I can't wait to go back.

Kahiki Moonies ~ James and his wahine Bridget

Kahiki Mooniacs! Todd & elicia

a Ken Pleasant carved tiki greets you

walk downstairs to roomy booths and tables, draped with tablecloths and fishnets topped with bamboo placemats. The lighting is perfect, overall it looks dark and mysterious, downlights directed onto the table makes it easy to read the menu and see your food! Exotica and Hawaiian music plays softly in the background. The dining room has wonderful acoustics, you can hear your dining partner, but its difficult to eavesdrop on others..

swizzle stick display ~ lovingly glued and velcro-ed into shadowboxes by hand by Monique and James' mom

view of the fishtank

super sized puffers

the bar

giant fork n spoon

Its hard to believe that Kahiki Moon has only been open for 3 months ~ the staff and kitchen work together perfectly. The drinks were outstanding ~ fresh, tart, garnished ~ Todd had 2 each time we visited! The staff is attentive, but not overly so. Never did we have to endure the obligatory "Hi, my name is blahblahblah" (we had 3 different waiters) No hard sells on the appitizers or drinks, none of that corporate lingo ~ just regular folks serving incredible food.

They get all the little details right too.. crusty warmed rolls with served with softened pats of unsweetened butter. The food arrives piping hot and perfectly presented. This is Hyatt Resort food in the Green Mountain State!

I can't think of a restaurant that i like better. the only one that comes close is the Hyatt on Kauai ~ and yet, in early fall, the Kahiki Moon gets vegetables as fresh as those grown in hawaii.. either way, i now have to travel 3000 miles from home to get to Kalua Nachos.

Kalua Pig Nachos ~ Worth the 3060 mile trip from Seattle. Vermont Cheddar and Jack Cheeses melted onto tortilla chips, with plenty of smokey-sweet Kalua Pork, perhaps a hint of chipolte peppers..fresh salsa..sour cream..scallions. Huge portion at an incredibly low low price of $8.

Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura ~ Served with ponzu sauce, drizzled with a maple-hot mustard glaze.

Teriyaki Chicken Breast with grilled pineapple, ginger noodle salad and soy-wasabi vinigarette.

Our second visit to the Kahiki Moon ~ Kalua Pig Nachos!

Crispy Duck Breast ~ with vegetable lo mein, tempura scallons and pinapple papaya relish. absolutely the best duck. not a hint of fat, just an outstanding crisp skin, and meat cooked to order, a delicious medium.

Grilled Ahi Tuna~ beautifully plated with a pyramid of jasmine rice, wok seared vegetables in a chinese chili sauce.

Third visit ~ decided that dessert was more important than the Kalua Nachos. it arrived and we dug into it before taking a picture ~ warm chocolate cake, soft dreamy molten chocolate center, dusted with powdered sugar and garnished with raspberry-manog coulis ~ ours arrived with raspberries, blueberries and creme anglais (im alergic to mangos, so the kitchen made that substitution!)

Grilled Angus Sirloin with mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables and kentucky bourbon sauce

Todd had the hawaiian BBQ center cut pork chop with sweet potato puree and green bean & beet salad

This was the culinary highlight of our 2 week trip!


edited because Primo's girlfriend's actual name is Bridget, not Monique as my addled brain had imagined!

[ Edited by: dogbytes on 2004-10-31 12:29 ]

oh my god am i hungry now!!!!....do they deliver??......to illinois?....lol!!.....looks like a great place, mahalo for the pics...

Oh my goodness, the food looks so good! Great pics of keigs' wonderful carvings and the intimate decor. Hope I can get to Vermont sooner rather than later!


Cool bar (especially the stools) and the food looks excelent, very nice Pan Pacific style dishes. I hope it all works out for you!

I wanna go here so bad, I'm only an 8 hour drive away too!

Kahiki Moon closed its doors on March 27, 2005.

I was not fortunate to visit you Kahiki Moon.
May your memory be preserved forever here on Tiki Central.


Primo, utopiandreem & I are so very sad to hear Kahiki Moon closed. We were planning to visit it in late May since we were going to be in the area. We hope the best for you in your next venture.


Here are some glamour-type shots I never got around to a postin' before...

Bar's eye view

[ Edited by: Primo Kimo on 2005-04-19 17:45 ]

[ Edited by: Primo Kimo on 2005-06-11 09:40 ]

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