For many diners these days, sushi is the new hamburger. Restaurants like Kyoto in Roseville, and Akita in Woodbury have AYCE sushi specials and there is no shortage of hungry patrons. While those are solid alternatives other days of the week, my friends and I have always had our “Sunday Sushi” go to spot after accidentally discovering it. Our place isn’t where you might expect, it’s not in Saint Paul or Minneapolis, or even out in the Lake Minnetonka area. It’s tucked into a corner lot of a complex, that houses various boutiques, across the street from a mall, in Eden Prairie, yet Kona Grill is “suburbanly superb.” Also the fact that it’s nearly a 35 minute drive from Oakdale, where I live, I wouldn’t make the drive if it wasn’t worth it.
I do have to hesitantly admit that Kona Grill, is in fact a chain *cringe*, but it separates itself apart from that title. If you didn’t google the name and learn about the national existence, an unknowing person would probably not realize that. While most chains are in every city, and every suburb, on every block, serving up the same tasteless, stomach-ache inducing waste, Kona Grill in Eden Prairie is the only location north of Illinois. That means Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, guess what, you’re missing out on another Minnesota gem.
Like I had mentioned, when myself and guys get a Sunday free and are craving sushi, we all converge to our sushi playground. The atmosphere and color scheme is shocking to first timers as they walk in and are greeted with a bright blue montage, which one would guess is a metaphorical representation of being “under the sea.” The restaurant is nicely divided into 3 different areas to accommodate for an eclectic clientele. For those looking to get a little cozy with their companion, their are lush booths and a nice dining area away from the excitement of the bar. Also in the main dining area there is a sushi bar, where guests can watch their rolls being made up close and personal.
In the bar area, it’s a little less “under the sea” and a little more sports and beer. In between the bar area and dining area though, there is a large bright blue exotic fish tank filled with everyone’s favorite brightly colored ocean fish. If watching the fish swim and do their thing isn’t your forte, you can always just drink like a fish at the bar instead. The bar has an assortment of drinks and liquors that cater to nearly every taste. There is even a bottle of Johnnie Blue on the shelf.
For when the weather gets nice, there is even an outdoor patio with complete with a fire pit. But while the Minnesota weather is still baring her teeth, there is a rotunda dining area secluded off the bar that overlooks the patio.
Now on to the sushi! Like I said previously, on Sundays, Kona runs an all day happy hour on select sushi rolls, which translates to 1/2 off. 10 to be exact. For this outing, myself and my 3 hungry dining companions decided to push our limits even further than usual. We ordered one of every roll on happy hour and 2 of the fiery shrimp roll just to satisfy our appetites. For those that can do math, that’s 88 pieces of sushi for 4 people. Oh and the other best part, split 4 ways that’s 12 dollars a person.
The rolls are excellent and satisfying to most, but Morimoto may have a gripe or two. I’ve always been a fan of the Atlantic roll and Philadelphia roll but have never been disappointed with any of the rolls. There is just something about the salmon and cream cheese together in the Philly, that I can’t get enough. Likewise with the tempura flakes on the Atlantic roll. For those who have never had sushi rolls and are looking to steep in slowly, the California is always a good starter. The avocado mellows everything out and the fish isn’t overpowering. Regardless of your taste, the friendly service and wait staff will help you make your decision and find the right fit.
Kona Grill is a family friendly place, but it’s also a place where adults can gather, sip a few drinks, enjoy the game on tv, and relax. Think of Kona as the Rainforest Cafe playground for grownups, only without the screaming kids and mall rats.