Date: 20 December 2017
Location: 4087 NEW BOND STREET COLUMBUS, OH 43219-6126
This joint is nestled in Easton between Macy’s and Express. There’s plenty of free parking nearby, but don’t plan on finding bicycle parking that’s close.
Environment: Open, Trendy, Fashionably Fishy
And by fashionably fishy – I’m referring to a large fish tank in the center of the restaurant and a water curtain feature near the entrance tying the first and second floors together. The table tops are made of stainless steel and the interior is rather dark. This combo makes for a somewhat private date-night kind of feel. You’ll fit in perfectly fine wearing leggings and a tunic or a suit.
Price: The prices are a bit high – lunch will probably be at least $16 with a tip, but the portion sizing is quite large. It’s worth it, but I wouldn’t be eating here multiple times a month.
Quality: As for having the fish prepared beautifully and cooked properly for what you ask for – it’s pretty good. As for the balance of flavors, I think that really depends on who’s working on the line. This place is a chain restaurant. Some of the items I’ve had here have been consistently good, but I’ve also received cooked spinach that was so over salted that I couldn’t eat it – I might as well have been drinking sea water. I’ve only had that happen once though, and I’ve probably been to Kona 7 times. Kona also has its nutritional information available online if you’re into that sort of thing.
Appearance: The restaurant and bathroom have always seemed clean every time I’ve been there. The presentation of the food is usually great as well, although this last time the plates were slightly sloppy.
Taste: I’ll break this down to each item.
ORIGINAL POKE: Unless they’re referring to this being the first type of poke they feature on the menu I’m not so sure what the original tag here is for. I’m fairly certain this dish features marinate salmon and tuna, but the marinade on the fish was so strong it was difficult to tell what kind of fish I was eating aside from reading the menu and telling by the color. For my taste, it was overly sweet and salty. The avocado was edible, but it wasn’t quite ripe. It is winter in Ohio right now though so this is somewhat to be expected. The cucumber and seaweed salad were spot on. I’m not sure why this dish was also served with soy sauce on the side. It didn’t complement the marinade or add anything in particular other than more unnecessary salt once the dish was mixed together. Would I get this dish again? Yes – IF I could get the marinade sauce on the side. This is one of the healthiest options on the menu.
PAN-SEARED TUNA SLIDERS: These are absolutely delicious. The seasoned sweet potato fries are some of the best I’ve had and they’re consistently good. The aioli with black sesame seed garnish is a wonderful complement to the fries and the sliders. The tuna is consistently perfectly seared to whatever temperature/done-ness you prefer (medium-rare, medium, medium-well, well). I would prefer if they’d swap out the iceberg lettuce for bib lettuce, but the ratio of lettuce and tomato to tuna is good. The bun is also well toasted without being greasy. These sliders and fries are the reason I keep coming back to this restaurant.
Service: It’s consistently average. I’ve never been blown away by my server’s attentiveness, but I’ve also never been without a drink for too terribly long either. I wouldn’t call the wait staff particularly warm, but they do their jobs well.
Score: 2 Stars. If I was rating this place based on the sliders alone I might give it 2.5 – 3 stars, but having unbalanced seasonings that cover up the taste of the fish rather than complementing it on the poke combined with the pricing knocks this place down to a 2. Kona serves high quality fish. It’s definitely worth checking out, but not everything on the menu is spot-on.