Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quickie Review #37: Kona Grill

Most rock stars tour the country with a significant entourage of friends, family members, and assorted hangers-on in tow. It comes with the territory. My own lovely wife the Rock Star carries her own significant entourage, which was ready to turn out in force on the occasion of her birthday celebration, ready to obey her slightest command and have a good time in the bargain. However, there was one recalcitrant wheeler on her Iditarod team, her formidable mother. You see, my bride had her heart set on sushi, whereas The Momma cannot abide the fishy stuff under any circumstances. No amount of coaxing and cajoling could get her to change her mind. So, after some executive-level discussion, my wife and I agreed on the perfect compromise: Kona Grill, which boasts both fresh sushi and island-inspired All-American classics such as steak and pad thai on its eclectic menu. Crisis thus averted, we made our way southward one recent Saturday night, with my friend The Rock, my wife's friend Crazy Cat Lady, my wife's sister The Wild Thing, and the aforementioned The Momma safely in tow.

There's no doubt that Kona Grill features quality cuisine, yet I believe that its most impressive feature is the lively atmosphere dominated by sleek, dark woods, Asian-inspired umbrellas in the ceiling cleverly concealing fire alarm sprinklers, and that imposing 2000-gallon aquarium behind the sushi bar. Speaking of which, The Rock Star and I were in full-on sushi mode this evening and ordered three rolls to split between us, as well as salmon and yellowtail appetizers.
The Spicy Tuna roll took top honors this night, packing a more aggresive satisfying kick than usual, while the Las Vegas Roll (salmon, crab-mix, and cream cheese, tempura-fried and served with eel sauce), proved slightly underspiced, a departure from the norm from this usually spot-on specialty. Spider roll (soft-shell crab, deep-fried with crab-mix, avocado, and cucumber) fared better, as did the nicely-fresh salmon and yellowtail starters. In any case, we left few crumbs in our wake. I wish I could report on the taste of everyone else's entrees, but as no one would share their fare, I can only conclude that all were quite pleased. The Momma left little of her Kona Steak filet on her plate, while The Wild Thing voyaged to Thailand for that ever-present staple, Pad Thai, and reported a successful conquest of the chicken, vegetable, and noodle dish she loves so much. Both The Rock and Crazy Cat Lady journeyed to a similar destination with their choice of the Thai-Peanut Chicken Noodles, similar to pad thai, but featuring linguini instead, and drizzled with savory peanut sauce rather than black-bean chili sauce. Everyone raved about the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc and Danzante Pinot Grigio we selected to accompany their repasts, and our excellent waiter (whose name escapes me) crowned our joy with a crusty, creamy creme brulee for the birthday girl.
Website is, where you can get the goods on the current and upcoming locations of this ever-growing chain. Treat your entourage to Kona Grill soon, and remember:



Margie said...

I love to read about sushi, but it always makes me crave it!

I'm not going out tonight in this yuckiness for anyone's sushi. Can't stop me from wanting it, though.

Thumbbook said...

Im stopping by because I'd like to invite you to take some time to drop by at Foodista. We have launched an online food and cooking encyclopedia ala wikipedia. Add a recipe and you can win a $100 gift card to Sur la table. See you there!

Food Czar said...

Margie: I'm sure you've probably satisfied your sushi craving by now.

Thumbbook: Thanks for the invite. Great looking site! I wish you well!!

Victoria is only a wee bit crazy said...

Kona grill has a great happy hour deal, if you can get a seat.

Eddie G said...

I love Kona Grill's happy hour(s)!

Food Czar said...

Victoria and Eddie G: You are both so right about Kona Grill's Happy Hours! They are the best, but they are always crowded, both on the patio and inside. One of these days, I'm going to have to attend the Reverse Happy Hour from 9-11 PM (10-Midnite weekends). Such a sensible idea!