Something to chew on

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Kona Grill Austin: A Review

Cole and I tried the new Kona Grill at The Domain in Austin yesterday afternoon. What a cool shopping center!!! I won't call it a mall; it's more like a little mini city. The stores are all lined up along a mini city street. You can park on the little street in the center of the action or park in one of the bigger parking lots surrounding the center. The sidewalks were ample for all the folks that were running around, and the names hanging from the signs were enough to have me drooling a couple of times: Betsey Johnson, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Burberry. We did some shopping at the Victoria's Secret there, and that's a story for another time... How do you spell "biatch"???

Anyway, before we made our way out into the little bustling city street to wander around and take pictures of the shopping center, we stopped for a very late lunch at Kona Grill. Cole's mom has told us several times how good the one in San Antonio is, so we figured we would be heading into something good. As a good little dieter, I checked the menu online and set my mind on a healthy choice. I was ready and prepared to not let a huge, beautiful, new restaurant ruin my progress.

And then we ordered the Sweet Maui Onion Rings... Wow!!! In my opinion, they were the highlight of the meal. I'm not an onion fan, or normally an onion-ring fan, but these babies were so good!!! Cole described the size best when he compared them to a grapefruit. Seriously. A giant middle-of-summer, Texas-sized grapefruit. They were enormous!!! They were served with a "seared pineapple chipotle" sauce that tasted a bit like pineapple juice mixed into a spicy ketchup. It was good. But back to the onion rings...

Many times, onion rings to me are like big hunks of fried batter with a little bit of wimpy onion inside. Not these, oh no. These were super-fresh sweet onions with the perfect amount of light batter. They didn't need a thing; they didn't even really need the sauce. But the sweet onion and spicy sauce were a great combination. Order some when you go, even if you don't claim to be an onion fan.

I had decided before we even sat down that I would have the Shrimp Tempura Rolls with a little side of edamame. They were very good. Very fresh. And somehow the perfect temperature. (I hate eating super-cold rolls. ) The little fried shrimp were rolled in rice and seaweed along with cucumber and avocado. And they weren't rolled too tight; they were just loose enough that it didn't seem like work to eat them. If that makes any sense... hehe Again, very fresh. And good.

Cole had the Jerk Chicken Sandwich minus the chipotle mayo. We're just not mayo people. His sandwich was a big and beautiful thing with grilled chicken, swiss cheese and a thin slice of grilled pineapple, served with a side of fries. When I asked how his sandwich was, I got the one-shoulder shrug and no verbal response. Though he did say the French fries were excellent. After dessert, I declared that the onion rings were the highlight of the meal, but he said the fries may have even topped the onion rings. How did I not get to taste one?!?!

Oh yeah, dessert. We tried the Macadamia Nut Pie. It made a pretty presentation. Small in my mind. I guess because we're so accustomed to desserts the size of our head coming out of a restaurant's kitchen these days.

It was good, but if we ever go again, I'll probably vote to try a different dessert.

Immediately when it came to our table and I took my first look, it made me think of pecan pie but with macadamia nuts on top instead of pecans. It was only about half the thickness of a piece of pecan pie from Mom's house, and it wasn't nearly as sweet or fresh-tasting. It was served with a good vanilla ice cream though. If you're a true lover of macadamia nuts, which I like but not love, then you might give it a try.

Overall, a good dining experience. If only they could do something about the gnats and flies in the place. I trapped one under a bottle of soy sauce as we were leaving.

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  • What a coincidence that y'all ended up going there yesterday because I was just asking her yesterday morning where The Domain is in Austin. I thought it was either off north Mopac or north 360. I keep seeing ads for it in Texas Monthly.

    We have a shopping center here that is nearly identical (like city streets with restaurants, retail, office and residential) called Fairfax Corner. But it's not quite as hoity-toity.

    By Blogger Stacey, at July 08, 2007 3:46 PM  

  • And by "her" I mean my mom.

    By Blogger Stacey, at July 08, 2007 3:47 PM  

  • HA!!! I knew exactly who you were talking about...

    By Blogger Summer, at July 08, 2007 4:49 PM  

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