Kona Chill, er Grill

I feel quite remiss. I just noticed that we have not done a review of Kona Grill. I say remiss because Kona Grill is one of our go-to places, for Happy Hour anyway!

Kona Grill has a great patio/bar area. Not quite outdoors, it offers large windows that open fully to bring in the balmy Michigan air and the stunning views of Big Beaver Road. For the area, it is about the best you can get for drinking “al fresco”. I must say when we started going to happy hour here, we got ample drinks, large selection of appetizers ad sushi and it went until like 7 pm. Happy hour started ending earlier, menu started getting more limited and the drink sizes smaller and smaller. Happy hour now is from 3-6 p.m. Mon-Friday and after 9 p.m. Mon-Thursday. As with most happy hours you must be in the bar, which is fine because that is typically our favorite place to sit.

The menu used to be extensive, with a large variety of flatbreads and sushi. I could get California Rolls for $4 and best I have had in the area.Yeah, yeah I know all you sushi connoisseurs, California Rolls are not “real” sushi, but this girl doesn’t do the raw fish thang.

So let’s talk about the good and the great. So far I have no bad and ugly to talk about. As I said, I love the California Rolls. (Refrain from the “eye” rolls LOL). Omar loves, I mean loves the Voodoo Roll. The roll contains spicy crawfish, avocado, tuna , habanero sauce, green onion and smelt roe. For those wondering what roe is, well it’s the poor mans caviar. Fish eggs. So gross, no thank you. So you may be asking yourself, what is the difference between caviar and roe? Well according to Wikipedia, and you know if it is on the internet it must be true, “traditionally, the term caviar refers only to roe from wild sturgeon in the Caspian and Black Sea”. Basic roe however are typically from different breeds of fish, usually “flying fish” and used in sushi restaurants. Usually red or orange in color, just do not confuse with Masago which are again from a different breed of fish, smaller and brightly colored.

To sum up, fish eggs are gross in any form.

The flatbread is always pretty solid. I enjoy the margarita, with sliced tomatoes, fresh basil and a balsamic glaze reduction drizzled over the top. Edamame is simply a ridiculous item to order on the menu as far as I am concerned. I just don’t see the allure. I see many people order, so they must be good, but I refuse to pay that much for some beans. The potstickers are good, not great. As far as potstickers go, they are average. We have tried most appetizers and you can’t go wrong. I would however avoid the avocado egg rolls. Something about the hot avocado in the egg rolls is very off putting.

Drinks, Omar always gets the Saki bomber. That’s a kirin ichiban or kirin light and warm saké. I enjoy an iced cold Cosmopolitan Martini. I am so sad that the martini glasses have gotten so tiny and the Cosmos are no longer a happy hour special. So it winds up being about $4 a sip. But it is yummy!

We have ordered main courses on occasion and vary our selections, but we are always satisfied with the ambiance and the quality of the food and drinks. As you all know, we are very picky and for us to have a “go to” place it means it is reliable.

Getting a table or seat at the bar, especially a nice table near the open window is difficult during happy hour. Go early, or creepily make the rounds, stalking the tables and looking for bill payers. If you go on a Friday night, look for us. We will be the ones with the Saki Bomber and Cosmo!!

Killing Time at Sterling Bistro

So Omar and I had to kill some time while his daughter was at Lakeside Mall with her friends.  Didn’t make a lot of sense to drive home and then drive all the way back.  We decided to grab some dinner at the Sterling’s Bistro (in the Lakeside parking lot, next to the new Fuddruckers).

Now we had been here some time ago, pre-blog era.  I honestly don’t remember much about the place, whether we thought it was good, or worth revisiting.  Omar was recently here for a work event and was happy with his meal so we checked it out.

They have a rather upscale menu, with meatball lollipops, fried brussels sprouts, and crab and shrimp cake appetizers.

All of which we did not partake. Omar was looking for something on the lighter side, so he ordered volcano sushi.  It came out so pretty, it really was visually stunning.  Although not the best sushi Omar ever had, it was tasty and plentiful.

I ordered the strip steak, which was served with garlic mashed potatoes and veggies.  The steak was flavorful although the potatoes were a bit gummy.

Omar enjoyed his Tangueray Martini, up, with 3 anchovy stuffed olives.  I ordered a gin and tonic, to keep things simple.  Sorry, no beer review tonight.

Overall, we were happy with the service, the food and the ambiance.  We will return, when it is convenient.  Unfortunately it is one of those places that you can visit if you are in the area, but maybe wouldn’t seek out and drive a long way for. Good, not great. Frankly, writing this review weeks after the fact, and I forgot a lot about the dinner, which does say something.