I had read about this place on happycow many years ago and have eaten here on 3 trips to Maui. Was just here in December 2012, and here's my Fresh Mint review updates.
This is a long time operating Asian food restaurant in the heart of Paia town, just on the main drag. There had been a change of ownership since the original owners moved to Arizona in the mid-2000s. The current owners are a Vietnamese wife and husband couple. The wife cooks while the husband or a hired help buses the tables. I think the wife may have worked here previously and decided to takeover the restaurant.
From the ownership change, the menu had only changed just slightly to include several more selections, but the decor, recipes, and flavors seemed to remain very similar. The portions, however, have been reduced.
The food is authentic Vietnamese. The decor is older, basic. Even after at least 5 years since I first visited, it felt as if not much has changed here.
I'm a fan of the pho noodle soup, and the one at Fresh mint is very good. The broth is flavorful and satisfying. I recommend adding chili for an extra kick.
The spicy lemongrass noodle soup has good flavor,too, but the noodles come tough, so ask for soft noodle.
The spicy curry eggplant entrée served with a small side of rice is tasty.
The pad thai noodles is tasty.
The prices are moderate, but the food portions are small for the price, except for the noodle soups which are fairly priced. I'm a noodle soups fan, so I will be coming back for those.
Service-wise, I've encountered both good and bad. Just tonight, for instance, only the owner/chef and her helper were there (as usual), but neither had time to come out to take our order, so we walked out--only to call our order in. Even so, the help/waitress didn't even remember to give us our receipt even upon 2 requests.
If you are looking for VEG food in Maui, I would recommend this place as one option.
PS. I would warn anyone from ordering the fried imperial rolls (fried spring rolls) and perhaps the other appetizer rolls, too. A plate costs $7 but only comes in six tiny pieces--basically 2 thin rolls each cut into 3 even smaller pieces. I was totally SHOCKED at the tiny portion at this outrageous price.Pros: authentic flavors, varied selections, good noodle soups
Cons: poor ventilation, small portions