Tampa Westshore Happy Hour specials are almost everywhere and we heard Kona Grill was one we definitely had to try. Located on Tampa’s ‘restaurant row’ across from the International Plaza Mall, Kona Grill packs a crowd for the “patio only” happy hour deals Monday-Friday 3pm to close. We recently went in for dinner and our visit really didn’t go as expected.
Parking can be tight at Kona Grill, with other popular restaurants next door but today we didn’t have a problem, even during Happy Hour time. The patio was packed and the bar was standing room only for the discounted appetizers and drinks but the dining area was surprisingly empty with maybe three tables occupied.
The inside of Kona Grill is cool and modern with some interesting light fixtures and glass art on the ceiling. They offer an Asian-Fusion menu and even have a sushi bar located to the back of the restaurant.
We both took a few minutes to look over the menu and found lots of options. Sushi had its own side of the menu with all kinds of rolls. Appetizers and flatbreads had some interesting twists along with the entrees. We decided to start with an appetizer and continue to look over the menu. While our server put the order in quickly, it seemed to take a bit longer than expected to get the Avocado Egg-rolls.
Avocado Egg-rolls ($10.50) – served with honey-cilantro dipping sauce. When this appetizer was dropped off, we were both amazed on how small this portion was. Slicing the two thin egg-rolls didn’t fool us into thinking the portion was bigger. While the filling was all avocado, the brown/gray pieces were really unappetizing, showing that some of the filling was sitting out too long.
We also noticed that they were Luke-warm and a bit soggy. The honey-cilantro dipping sauce tasted like cumin and nothing else. We also laughed at the less than one forkful of fresh slaw (the tastiest item on the plate). With the appetizer not really turning out well, we decided to just order a flatbread and try another appetizer.
Smoked Gouda Fondue ($10.25) – salted pretzel bites, Granny Smith Apple bites. An impressive presentation was immediately ruined with a gritty, gloppy cheese fondue. The iron bowl is supposed to have a tea-light candle under it to keep it warm. He candle was there, but they forgot to light it.
The melted cheese was not smooth and was either separated or just not made right. The apples were already starting to turn brown from sitting out, which was a bit strange to see at a restaurant. The pretzel bites were great, but couldn’t save the gritty, gloppy texture of the cheese fondue.
BBQ Chicken Flatbread ($13.25) – BBQ sauce, red onion, cheddar, Gouda, cilantro. This was the star dish of the night.
More than enough to share and we liked the overall flavor. One critique is that it could have been served warmer. It was already getting a little soggy on the middle.
Well, we had high hopes about Kona Grill. The kitchen seemed to miss the mark, especially on the first two appetizers. Maybe we should have stuck to the Tampa Westshore happy hour specials and sat outside. At least we would have saved some money. Kona Grill is located at 4134 W Boy Scout Blvd, Tampa.