Mexican Night at Kili Cafe and Terrace - Hyatt Regency Saipan
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
If you've never had a reason to go to Saipan before, now you do. The Kili Cafe and Terrace at the Hyatt Regency Saipan is offering a fabulous fiesta of original, authentic Mexican cuisine, the likes of which I've not seen on Guam. That's not to say we don't have some good Mexican food here - it's just that the folks at the Hyatt Regency Saipan have created something unique that food aficionados (especially lovers of Mexican food) will truly appreciate with their Wednesday Night Mexican All-You-Can-Eat Buffet.
An international team of chefs lead by Executive Chef David Jones, along with Chef Roberto Serrano (aptly named for the fiery pepper), Chef Habib Akbar, and Chef Robert Rios, have pooled their talents and acquired the essential ingredients to prepare a large variety of Cold and Hot Entrees that are highlighted by the Live Fajita and Barbeque stations.
My recent visit to Saipan allowed me the opportunity to indulge in this meal (I learned about it from an article in the Marianas Variety). The menu lists many stimulating offerings, and includes such fare as Ensalada de Res (Beef and Onion Salad with Cilantro); Ensalada de Nopales (Cactus Salad with Mexican Cheese); Pico de Gallo (Jicama, Cucumber and Red Onion Salad); Puerco ala Vinagretta (Pork Hocks in Vinaigrette); Ostiones Frescos (Fresh Oysters), Patas de Cangrejo (King Crab Legs) and Ceviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche). The Pan de Ajo (Mexican Garlic Bread) is a treat, too.
Among the Hot Entrees in chafing dishes are Pescado con salsa de camarones (Fish with Shrimp Sauce); Mole Verde de Pollo (Chicken in Green Mole Sauce); Adobo de Res (Mexican Beef Adobo) - an exceptional dish, with tender succulent meat stewed in a savory sauce that'll make you dizzy; Frijoles Refritos; Arroz Blanco Mexicano (White Rice Mexican Style); and a Taco Station, where you make your own hard-shell taco with fresh ingredients (guacamole, salsa picante, cheese, black olives, sour cream, and a mouth-watering beef and bean mixture). I didn't have a chance to try the soup, which was a Sopa de Ajo con Huevos (Garlic Soup with Eggs). Next time.
The service in Saipan's restaurants is renowned. The service at the Kili Cafe and Terrace is excellent. I was strategically seated outside on the lanai at a table that afforded a direct view of the Live Fajita Station by Karina, a charming member of the Hyatt F&B staff who hails from France. The Fajita Station was the main attraction for me, since so much creative "magic" takes place in the skillful hands of the chef mixing your "personal" fajita. The actual finished fajita resembles a burrito, since the process involves sautZing the peppers, onions, salsas, meat (beef,chicken, or both),and pouring these simmered ingredients onto a large flour tortilla that has been slathered with refried beans and guacamole. Then Colby and Jack cheeses are added with sour cream and more salsa, before the shell is folded over into a roll that is placed on a hot griddle that seals the seams and browns the shell to a dark golden crunchiness! It's so big it needs to be sliced in half, even at that it's nearly a meal in and of itself! Ole!
The Barbecue Station was in another area that was lower than the main terrace. It's popular for other barbeque fuctions from what I've been told. On Mexican Night, it is committed to making Pollo Parilla (Grilled Chicken), Bisteces ala Tampiquena (Beef Tampico Style) and Costillas de Puerco con Ancho Chili (Pork Ribs with Ancho Chili). Also barbecued were corn coblets. Red and green salsas were joined by our local finadene to accompany these grilled delights.
There were several desserts displayed, such as Pina Colada Cake, Kahlua Cheesecake, Flan De Leche, Fresh fruits, Empanaditas de Mansana (Apple Turnover), Home-Made Ice Cream, and Churros. Though I was already full, Karina suggested that I at least try the Churros with Orange Sauce. It was suitably delicious, and I even managed two of the small turnovers.
All in all, it was a splendid evening, and a meal to remember. In fact, the authentic flavors, spices, and ingredients were so good that I became emotional--my soul was touched--definitely a tribute to the Hyatt's chef team. Dinner hours for the Kili Cafe and Terrace are from 6pm - 10pm, and the price of the buffet is $30.00. Reservations are suggested. I almost forgot to mention that a quartet of troubadours with a lady vocalist stroll table to table performing Mexican ballads--adding yet another touch of Mexicana to the evening.
Experience a bona fide taste of Mexico--visit the Kili Cafe and Terrace at the Hyatt Regency Saipan. Adios!
Mucho Gusto & Bon Appetit!