Last year my husband and I took a trip to Japan and had a thrilling 3 weeks there. We visited Kyoto and stayed at a traditional ryokan, (inn). Staying in the ryokan was an amazing/overwhelming experience that included getting naked in public (a story for another day), a 12-course dinner, beautiful sites and a traditional Japanese breakfast. We ate numerous meals, but the ryokan was the most interesting. The hubs and I visited the Otagi Nenbutsu-ji temple, which is a buddhist temple with over 1,000 quirky and interesting statues. We LOVED it! The statues were placed in 1981, so they aren’t particularly ancient, but they are still wonderful.I was especially happy to find a statue holding a camera. A kindred spirit!After site seeing we had a lovely experience at the ryokan and the next morning we were given the choice of a ‘western’ or ‘japanese’ breakfast. We laughed at the stupid westerners that couldn’t handle a Japanese breakfast and promptly opted for the most traditional breakfast possible! It seemed like a great idea until we sat down to the table and had NO idea what were were about to eat. I love trying new things, but this was definitely out of my comfort zone. You know that experience you have when you got to a fancy restaurant and suddenly realize there is much more cutlery than you are know what to do with. Why are there 4 forks, what is this mini plate for, am I supposed to use the small spoon for dessert, soup… ? This was just a taste of what it was like to eat traditional japanese breakfast. There were so many plates and ornate boxes with little treasures inside. I didn’t what was garnishment or food. At one point I managed to ask what to do with this cup of liquid only to discover it was just a cup of tea, which was the only thing I knew what to do with. It was beautiful and amazing, but we had no idea what were eating and what sauce went with what. A lot of it was delicious, but a lot of it we weren’t sure about. This could have been because we were pairing sauces with the wrong food. I did recognize rice, soy sauce, fish (pretty sure) and maybe.. tofu. The service was impeccable. Though the employees didn’t speak English, and we struggled with awful Japanese, they still took care of our every need and made it a great experience for us. The view was so beautiful it was surreal. Boats floated by and I kept feeling like I’d fallen into a movie. It was one of the highlights of our trip!We were awkward and confused, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Huntsville has a new, ultra cool place to enjoy an upscale cocktail, a pint of local craft beer, and a truly amazing array of culinary delights. It’s hard to say what the restaurants food genre is other than an eclectic spectrum of deliciousness. Usually when I got to a restaurant opening I do a little research on the place, but I was pressed for time so as we were driving to the Kona Grill I looked the restaurant up on my phone (don’t worry, my husband was driving).The menu had lots of different types of food: Japanese, Italian, good old American and even some New England fare. Mmm Clam Chowder. (It gives me flashbacks to my childhood).
“How can this be good?” I asked by husband while looking at my phone. “There are too many different styles of food.”
Thirty minutes later I would be eating my words, while sipping on a heavenly strawberry basil cocktail and eating a numerous styles of food that were consistently good.The interior is sleek, yet comfortable. The restaurant is divided into different atmospheres, but all of them were equally enjoyable. It is a great place to grab a meal before a Saturday out on the town or settle in on a weeknight for numerous dishes, drinks and causal conversation. We opted to sit on the patio in the unseasonably warm weather with blogging superstar SweetTMakesThree and our hubbies. The staff was lovely, well-informed and so helpful. They brought us lots of different dishes to sample and offered to get anything we needed from their skilled chefs and bar staff. I started with the flatbread pizza. It was delicious, which is going to sound very redundant soon, but seriously everything tasted amazing.After a while I noticed people sipping on fruity cocktails, and being a person that doesn’t want to miss out, I went and located a few for the table.Mmm. Just looking at the pictures again makes me want another. They were fresh and fruit the with right amount of kick.
I LOVE food presentation, so I was all about the ice sculpture in the sushi room.All of the sushi is made fresh in-house. It went so fast that I was barely able to get a photo before it was gone, but I snagged a couple of pieces. Once again delicious. We then enjoyed well-cooked burgers (American-style) and pork dumplings (Chinese-style). My absolute favorite was the tuna sashimi (Japanese-style) and we finished up with passion fruit creme brûlée (French-style). It was like visiting Epcot Center without all the crying children and overpriced Mickey merchandise. I highly recommend visiting Kona Grill! The husband and I have already made plans to be back. Make sure you visit it at Bridge Street Town Centre in Huntsville.