Kona Grill and Some Thoughts on Chains
It’s been awhile since I’ve written a restaurant review it seems. Hasn’t it? Somehow I’ve moved on to other things like talking about my travels, making videos, and even some cooking. I guess I haven’t been trying as many new places or eating out as much (which is a good thing!) lately either. But this past week I did try something new, and I would love to return to my old ways of sharing it with you all.
I went to Kona Grill. Maybe you’ve heard of it – it’s a medium scale restaurant that serves American cuisine “with a twist” and a couple of Pan-Asian items thrown in, namely sushi. They have 18 locations across the U.S. with five more in the works, so yes, it is in fact a chain.
Now, I never used to have anything against chains- I grew up with chains and there is really no reason to dislike them as a whole. BUT I have to say that since returning from Amsterdam, I haven’t been able to stroll through the chain-laden streets of the Chicago suburbs in the same way. I’m just sick of depending on Panera when I’m in the need of a place for lunch plans. I’m sick of heading over to T.G.I. Friday’s for dinner outings. I want a family-run place where the waiters know exactly what’s cooking in back because they picked it up from the market that morning. Is that so much to ask? Maybe.
The Chicago suburbs are severely lacking in this area. I had a friend visit from New Jersey looking for an interesting place for lunch, and in complete embarrassment, all I had to offer was a shopping center full of Potbelly’s, Go Roma, and Noodles and Company.
But, in that same shopping center is Kona Grill. It’s been there for at least half a year now and I never had any desire to go there. Another American restaurant with a twist didn’t excite me much until last Tuesday, I found myself having dinner there.
To my surprise, I really enjoyed it! While the menu full of Macadamia Nut Chicken and Sweet Chili Glazed Salmon were nothing extraordinarily new, virtually everything sounded appealing. I was either beyond starved that evening or they came up with a pretty good selection, and the food didn’t come up short either.
For an appetizer, we went with the recommended Kona Calamari. There was more on the plate to begin with, I forgot to take a picture before starting! The calamari and sauce both had a little kick to it, which I enjoyed.
I went with the sushi for my main course.
So all in all, the food and experience made for a pleasurable evening, at a place we had both never been before. Perhaps the next time I visit Kona Grill it will seem more formulaic, and less exciting. But the fact that I don’t see a Kona Grill literally every other block makes it all the better than some of those other chains!