Monday, December 28, 2009

Number One of Thirty: Kona Grill

Number One of Thirty: Kona Grill

Kona Grill
940 Milwaukee Ave
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
(847) 955-1210

Since yesterday of my blog post, I have received several text messages and emails indicating my readers’ enthusiasm regarding “30 Days – 30 Bars.” Being vainglorious I was naturally basking in all the glory and attention. On the other hand, I was taken aback by the fact that it appears that very few people care about my boy problems but appear to be interested in seeing me shit-faced. Regardless, I am a trooper and in a desire to make sure the reading is as pleasurable as my potential caloric intake, I posted an add on Craigslist seeking an editor/bar-pal/potential date. Alas, the positions have all remained unfilled.

But I digress, as I marched into work late today, I tried to reacclimate my body to the morning. Dear Reader, I spent a good 8 hours trying to get my Wizard Elf (with sexy face tattoo) to woo a sexy orphan-Paladin who has daddy problems; alas, I fear my orphan is interested in the scantly-clad lady bard. So as I turned on my computer and allowed a good 40 minutes for Microsoft Outlook to startup, I decided to make some coffee.

As I ambled onto the water cooler filling up my carafe, a co-worker, approached me and said “Man, your blog idea is legendary.”

I looked at her in a surprised manner that could only be elicited by caffeine deprivation “What --- the fuck are you talking about?”

“Dude, 30 bars awesome.” And she walked away.

It is a funny thing really; considering that I only speak to her 3-4 times a month. But similar situations kept on springing up. Lynn approached me and told me “we should go to Dancers.” What is Dancers? Well, it is a strip-bar that caters to a clientele whom like their strippers to be preggers. Guess what I updated my Outlook Calendar with.

Anyway today was quite the hellish day. Near 4:00 I almost had a melt down. I was reading quite possibly the most infernal document ever drafted since Faust. As I gnashed my teeth, Jennifer mentioned happy hour this week; she also continued with a brief discussion of her boy problems. Tempted in playing my favorite role, Dr. Eric, I suggested we do happy hour today – “like now.” With very little arm twisting, Candice and Clinton also joined. I threw out the suggestion Kona, and everyone joined my suggestion, Kona it is.

Dear Reader, Kona occupies a special place in my heart. Not only does it have a killer Happy Hour menu, but it has the hottest waiters in the Chicagoland Area – oh yes – it beats Boystown. A random appetizer sampler of the waiters at Kona include “Kona King,” who is so hot, that I once tried to trip my co-worker/girlfriend, Alex, just so then he would fall on top of her. Then there is “Peter-Pecker” the ambiguously gay waiter with an amazing smile. My friend Andrew, probably laid down $150 for me to develop the testicular fortitude to ask him out; I am still waiting for Peter to give me a peck. And lastly, there is “THE Cutie,” so cute, I stole two of his pens just so then I could say there is an object in this world that has both of our finger-prints. Yes, Kona is a special place to me, it is my Eden.

Well we finally returned to Kona (it has been awhile because Fridays are often packed, and the Peter thing made me avoid the place), and we noticed that the Happy Hour menu was revamped! Maki rolls are $3. Sliders are $5. Tacos (chicken, shrimp, or beef) are $4.50. In fact the most expensive item on the menu are the pizzas, which are $5.50. As we sat down, we were surprised by the new waiter. Yes he fits the archetype, but here it the kicker, he is Asian! I thought I was the only Asian in the northern suburbs. From my last Yelp search, Panda Express was in Downtown. What the hell was an Asian doing here, let alone a hot one! As I scanned the menu, clumsily thinking about eggrolls, Clinton ordered an amber-ale, Jennifer joined, and Candice (whom arrived a little bit later) ordered a frozen margarita. He came back, efficiently dropped off the drinks and asked me “Pardon me Sir, what would you like to drink.” I almost fell in love, a polite waiter, using proper English. I hate it when waiters ask “Are you ready to order.” My thoughts often go to “Yes, I am ready to order. But I am not going to tell you.” But this, this oriental cherub said “Pardon me Sir….” Anyway, I ordered ice water, extra ice.

Well after some talk with Jennifer about her guy issues, which are not really issues, but her lack in planning a military conquest, Hot Asian came by and took down our orders. Jennifer ordered pot-stickers and vegetarian maki. Clinton ordered sliders and vegetarian maki. Candice ordered calamari --- and --- vegetarian maki. I ordered chicken tacos and “tuna wanton skins.”

I would like to briefly talk about the decor and clientele of Kona. It is actually a pretty good looking restaurant. There is glass everywhere and the dinning room is very sleek. I believe the dining room has a maximum capacity of 100 people and it probably has 18-20 tables (8 of which are booths). The bar is a standard bar with a horseshoe shaped counter. The counter it sits 14 guests. And along the perimeter of the bar there are 6 high tables with allow for four to five guests each. Behind the bar is a foyer type area that has another 8-10 tables with a maximum capacity of 68. From there you get the view of a pretty nasty pond, several office parks, and a few residences with a lot of toys in the yard. But still it is a good-looking restaurant. The one real problem I have with the foyer, for some reason the tabletops are made with a particular material that becomes quite sticky when it is humid. An inexplicable sticky I may add.

I typically have one word to describe the clientale. Milf. Well, capital, bold, italicize, underline, and highlight “M,” and lower cases “l” and “f.” I have no idea where all the middle age women came from. But I noticed that they all had similar characteristics. They dress absolutely inappropriately for their ages, and they have hairdos akin to Dorothy of the Golden Girls. As it got later, the doors of Kona really opened up to these women. I felt like I was in Curves. I was surrounded by a sea of estrogen, I needed more ice.

Well the food came, and I must admit, I was very disappointed with the tuna wanton skins. The food was not bad, but the item made no sense. It was essentially four ozs of tuna sliced into six pieces and served over wanton skin and drizzled with some sort of indiscernible aioli. Now, I would like to reiterate, nothing that touched my mouth was objectionable, but the wanton skin was driving me crazy. The skin was literally one folded sheet of fried wanton skin, sitting as a foil to the tuna. Contrary to my friends and the boys on the street, my mouth is not that big. There is no way, I can fit the entire thing into my maw. You have to bite the item into two or three; thus, shattering the skin in greasy shards. Note, this was an attempt of making an amuse-bouche, but where it failed was that there is no way, that I could fit the entire thing into my mouth.

The chicken tacos were much more successful. Inside each taco (a total of four) were layered with fried chicken breast, avocado, cabbage and carrots. I also noticed that each taco was grilled before service, and each taco was resplendent. It was served with a peanut sauce, which I skipped because I found it to be an odd match for such a “taco.” The only minor complaint with the tacos were that they kept falling apart, but I think that is attributed to the kitchen’s zealous attempt to fill up each wrap (or use a binder at the end fold).

We lastly ordered a brownie sundae betwixt the four of us (Clinton actually passed because he needs to defend his girlish figure). This I must admit was a low point. The brownie, while the size of a loaf of bread was dense and dry. In fact the only way to consume this caloric brick is to essentially cut it with the vanilla cream; otherwise, you run the risk of choking. Since it is on the Happy Hour menu, I assume that there are fifty sheets of brownies sitting in the walk-in, and they are sliced when a Glutton raises his chubby fingers.

All in all, we left happy. Service was unbelievably attentive even when the waiter was essentially working 6 tables with a total number of 35 customers; granted I would have liked a little bit more attention. My total bill with tax and tip: $15. Full tummy, but a bit of dry mouth.

From a score of 1-5, with 5 being exceptional.
Quality: 3
Service: 4.5
Atmosphere: 3
Hotness of Clientele: 1

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