Kona Grill

In the bevy of big chain restaurants inside Boca Park lies Kona Grill, serving its purpose as an option of a viable place to eat and/or hang out casually. The latter has always been my reason for going, but this time around I actually went inside the dining room and had a meal. 

I've been to Kona Grill a handful of times, but always to meet friends at the bar, never to eat. I don't know why, it's just how it always ended up. I have always liked my experiences in their bar area; It's always packed with Summerlin's socialites and has a good energy and feel to it each time I go. So, of course, I figured that energy and spunk would carry over to the dining room side….

Not so much. We were seated in a booth towards the back of the restaurant with a view of the entire dining room. There were a few other tables with patrons, but for the most part the place was dead, on a Saturday night too. The bar area was hopping and packed while the dining room felt secluded from the fun and barren. The good parts of the main room are the giant fish tank, open kitchen, high ceiling, and huge HDR pictures on the walls. Visually, very well done.

For the grub, we started with some "Angry" Edamame. The Angry part being that it was spicy and kicked your tastebuds around a bit. The edamame was cooked well and was very tangy. The heat level of this dish is probably in the 7 out of 10 range, so it is not for the faint of heart. If you can't handle that spice level you should ask them for the "Slightly Perturbed" Edamame (Doesn't exist). Overall, they were a nice change from the usual sea salt edamame most places serve.

Our appetizer was the "Avocado Egg Roll". I'm always a little wary when places go and cook avocado in any way, but this dish is done with the proper finesse. The outside was very crispy and the avocados were fresh and still firm but not mushy. Each bite had a good mouth feel with great contrasts of the avocado and crispy, fried, egg noodle wrapper. Also, the honey cilantro dipping sauce it came with was very nice. Sweet, savory and not overpowering at all while adding good flavor depth to thusly dipped portions of the egg roll.

My entree was the "Miso-Saké" Sea Bass. Unfortunately, I think it was a misostake of mine ordering this. Let's examine this train wreck one item at a time. Firstly, you can tell by the picture that it was more a "Fried rice with a side of Sea Bass and veggies" dish, than a Sea Bass dish. As for the fried rice itself, it tasted like it was prepared hours beforehand and then microwaved when I ordered it. I've always said it's pretty hard to screw up fried rice, whelp, Kona Grill managed it. Also, it was shrimp and pork fried rice. Take a look at what they consider shrimp!(See Picture) I've seen bigger shrimp in Ramen Noodle packets! The pork was diced into cubes so small, there were like 50 cubes that totaled no more than an ounce or two of total hog. The fried rice was an absolute catastrophe. The Broccoli and Mushrooms didn't even make the cut, the broccoli was undercooked and I received a total of two mushrooms…two. And now to the "Miso-Saké" Sea Bass. The Sea Bass was cooked well and was very flakey and had a good consistency, but the Miso and Saké marinade was a disaster. It seemed as if once the Sea Bass was done cooking they just drizzled some sauce on the top of it and called it a day. There was neither a real Miso or Saké flavor in the Sea Bass, it was bland and disappointing. 

My girlfriend had a much less tragic meal. She had their Chicken Linguine that they call Basil Pesto Linguine. This dish was better prepared. The plating was a little messy, but the ingredients were spot on. The chicken was very tasty, the cherry tomatoes were sweet and cooked right, and the garlic bread was cheesy and fresh. The linguine was slightly al-dente, which is good, and the basil pesto sauce was good, but nothing to write home about.

For dessert we shared their Red Velvet Cupcake. This thing was huge! Visually, stunning. But the size of the cupcake doesn't always equal to taste. The frosting was good and very creamy, but the cake portion was pretty bland. At least it came with fresh fruit on the side.

I honestly think Kona Grill can create a better meal than what I experienced. The problem is, it wont change. If it were a mom and pop joint it would have to be awesome always, but since it's a major chain, I doubt my experience would be any different in the future. I still like their bar area and patio, but I'll probably stick to ordering fresh sushi and adult beverages in the future.

Rating Description
out of 10
8 Location
Located in Boca Park, there's shopping and other stuff to do other than just eat. Also not too far from the freeway.
8 The Décor
It's nothing over the top, but it is quaint on the inside. Almost undwhelming.
7 The Prices
The prices definitely have a little Boca Park "tax" on them, but it's not too bad. They do have a good Happy Hour at the bar!
N/A The Drinks
I'm going N/A on this trip because I just had water, but their cocktails are normally pretty top notch at the bar.
4 The Food
My meal as a whole, not so great. I don't know if ordering something else would have been any better.
Unless it was for a friend's birthday or something, I wouldn't go back to eat off the normal menu. I'll stick to their sushi and drinks for now on.
(out of 10)


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