Review: Kona Grill at The Village, Meridian
Only about 6 months late, I finally made it into Kona Grill for a review. They opened day one with The Village at Meridian’s grand opening. I was at that opening ribbon cutting, and peaked inside Kona Grill to see their extravagant decor. Just look at this place!
It looked fancy, and the menu sounded good, but too many other priorities in life have been keeping me away. Finally, I had the chance to dine at Kona Grill when choosing a business lunch setting the other week. My experience was very pleasing, so I returned again to write this review.
Soft-shell Crab Po Boy Sliders at Kona Grill
As I surveyed the menu, this little gem stood out with glaring resonance. Soft-shell Crab Po Boy Sliders! Deep fried soft-shell crab, andouille sausage, and grilled pineapple, all served on a bun with a spicy chili mayo. ….does it get any more Bald Gourmet than that?
This thing was awesome! The soft shell crab was very large, crunchy, fresh tasting, and perfectly seasoned. There’s not really a lot of flavor with soft shell crab, but what it does provide is a perfectly mild taste of the ocean. Very nice on a sandwich like this. The andouille sausage was a perfect pairing with it. It was a little bit smokey, a little bit spicy, and had all the flavors the crab didn’t. The grilled sweet pineapple was a nice touch, and helped to mellow the flavors out to an enjoyable blend of sweet, salty, and savory. But the assembly Kona Grill chose of half sausage, half pineapple under the crab was a bit stupid because I could never get a complete bite of all the flavors. This Po Boy would have been much better with a full layer of sausage and pineapple, but regardless, this sandwich was still exceptional.
The spicy mayo was very spicy. It burned, but was a nice combo with everything else. I loved this sandwich and haven’t had anything else like it elsewhere.
Beef Bulgogi Tacos
As if Kona Grill new who they would be serving, they just introduced these tacos onto their menu the same week I came in to write a review. I am a slut for Korean bulgogi. To put it on a taco was pure genius. There really was no option; I had to order them. And I’m quite glad that I did. They really were quite nice. They were very rich though, so it’s no wonder they put them on their appetizer menu.
The bulgogi was good, and was heavily flavored. It wasn’t nearly as good as traditional bulgogi I’ve had at home, but good none the less. It had a nice rich beef flavor with strong soy tones, deep oil taste, and a touch of sweet 5 spice to lighten things up. It also had Korean gochujang chili paste, which is traditionally served along side bulgogi, already in the marinade (or so it seemed). This was a nice touch and ensured that each bite had a good balance of everything.
An interesting concept was the taco shell, which was made out of filo dough. It was unique, and actually worked amazingly well. It was very crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and all the layers of it worked well to soak up the juices of the taco.
The tacos were topped with a colorful and crisp Asian slaw that had carrots, red cabbage, red bell peppers, white cabbage, and cilantro in it; all seasoned with a bit of soy sauce, vinegar, and a 5 spice flare from hoisin sauce. It was pretty good stuff that helped to mellow the richness of the bulgogi. What a great fusion taco. I hope Kona Grill decides to keep these tacos on the menu for a long while to come.
Spicy Korean Tuna Roll
Sticking with my Korean them, I also ordered the Spicy Korean Tuna Roll, another brand new menu item. It sounded so good, and paired with my tacos perfectly. But it was a total disappointment.
The menu said, “green onion, gochujang sauce, sprouts, cucumber, and smelt roe.” That sounded like there would be tons of flavor, but the strongest flavor I got was from the sprouts. Those were some good sprouts, but come on! I couldn’t taste the chili paste at all. The presentation wasn’t even exciting. What the heck? Lame. But I will say that the sushi seemed very fresh and high quality. I’m guessing that a lot of their other rolls are exceptional. I think I just chose poorly. Unlike the Korean tacos, let’s hope this sushi roll doesn’t last.
Recommendation of Kona Grill
To be fair, I’ve only been to Kona Grill twice now, and only during lunch hours. I look forward to trying their dinner menu, but based on my experience with their lunch items, I definitely recommend dining at Kona Grill. The ambiance is beautiful, the menu creative, and the food pretty dang tasty. Not perfect, but quite delicious.
The Bald Gourmet enjoys some unique dining options at Kona Grill, including Soft Shell Sliders and Korean Tacos.