Approximately fifty-two weeks ago, we went into pandemic mode with the expectation that we would have two weeks to somewhat get COVID under containment. That was clearly an ambitious move, given those two weeks became 52 weeks. After months of being inside and now having my kitchen out of commission while I’m having a complete remodeling project underway, I am partaking of dining out when I’m not getting takeaway for enjoyment at home. While picking up a few items for installation in the kitchen, I decided to stop in to Kona Grill at 3051 Butterfield Rd. in Oak Brook, Illinois.
I used to work nearby and never went to the restaurant. I don’t know what the hesitation was, but I will admit that I wish I had gone well before now. Even with restaurants now enforcing safety precautions, Kona Grill gets it correct. They test temperatures upon entry, require masks, have seating spaced out nicely, and sanitizes between parties that come and go. And with very good service, they score high marks.
Where Kona Grill aces is with the food. There is a “big” restaurant feel to it, but the quality of the food seems more akin to that of a smaller restaurant that is primarily focused on flavor. I started with a bowl of lemongrass clam chowder. This soup was reminiscent of soup you may order at a Thai restaurant, the lemongrass being the stand-out ingredient. The addition of bacon is something I would not indulge if I were cooking the soup at home. It didn’t detract, but it didn’t add.
For my second landing, I had the surf & turf. This was a board of lobster and shrimp sushi, rib-eye steak, steamed green beans, and crispy au gratin potatoes. Every bit of this was part of their Bliss Suite. The lobster and shrimp sushi was delicious without even needing soy sauce for dipping. The fact that neither the lobster nor the shrimp was fishy made it that more better. The rib-eye steak came medium and without any red and without any hint of dryness. It was succulent and tender enough to be cut without struggle. The green beans came accented with garlic and topped with fried garlic. And the crispy potatoes were the perfect accompaniment. This is a menu item that I recommend highly for a taste of seafood and steak with perfect side dishes.
I finished with butter cake and vanilla ice cream along with a cup of coffee. Prior to the dessert, I was already slightly stuffed, so I had the server hold off for fifteen minutes before sending the finale to the table. The butter cake was warm, which I think is the best way to enjoy any cake. Served with a raspberry glaze and the vanilla ice cream, it was pure heaven on the tongue.
For such an outstanding lunch, I would have expected the price point to be something to interfere with the appetite. The price is not ridiculous and there are no compromises in flavor for not charging a ridiculous amount for dishes. My biggest disappointment is that for three years I have passed by Kona Grill and had never bothered to stop in for a dining experience. This first time was just by chance and it is a gamble that turned out to be a winner. They are worth an encore and deserving of a Gnashing Teeth Award.