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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kona Cafe/Poly - Why Eating Here Might Not Have Been A Good Idea

Well, this was Tuesday and my first Epcot day. It was drizzling in the morning which then resolved itself into rain by 11am. My original plan was to do all of Future World, then go to DTD, have lunch at the Earl of Sandwich or Raglan Road and then have dinner at House of Blues with a hang out at Pleasure Island for a bit.

However after walking around all day in a hoodie and getting rained on (umbrellas and plastic ponchos that make you look like bags of produce are for the weak and the sober), I decided to have dinner at Kona Cafe at the Poly. I had heard from this Board that the Tuna Oscar was really good so I decided to try it.

I was also on a quest for Pineapple Bread. I have been dreaming about this since I had breakfast at Ohanas 4 years ago. After wringing out my socks on the monorail, Hey, my shoes & socks were SOAKED, I was an hour early.

I had an adult beverage, looked around, wondered WHY on God's Green Earth anyone would pay tens of thousands of dollars for a giant Imeron red painted dolphin, and made some notes.

I was seated right when the restaurant opened, ordered Kona coffee and here is where things got weird. It seems there is a bit of a pineapple bread grudge match between Kona Cafe and Ohana. When I asked my server about pineapple bread she said they had it. I asked her if it was the same as Ohana because that is what I want. I just loved the soft, sweet, sticky bread with the pineapple on the bottom. She said that theirs was freshly baked and that Ohanas is flat and comes in a box.

OK, so she brings me this HUGE load of bread:

It was fresh baked but looked NOTHING like Ohanas and it is WAY too many carbs for me. I asked her if it has the pineapple on the bottom. She said it has pineapple in it and there is macadamia nut butter.

Ummmm, SHE LIED! This is NOT Pineapple Bread. It is nice, sweet, soft bread. A bit like that Hawaiian bread you can buy at the store but better. The butter was nice but it was NOT what I wanted and NOT what I asked her about and there was NO pineapple in it at all. It was just sweet bread. PERIOD.

My coffee comes. It isn't Kona. I don't drink coffee as a rule but I was cold. It wasn't that Nescafe crap but the check only listed the coffee as $2.50 and that didn't sound like Kona which should have been 3x that amount. Of course I didn't find out about this until after the meal.

So I decided to deal with the MOUND OF CARBS and waited for my Tuna Oscar. Here is how it looked when it was delivered:

Tuna Oscar - served with fried green tomatoes, tempura-fried jumbo lump crab, and wasabi hollandaise $22.99 ($23)

This dish looked amazing. Then I tasted it. ummmm, damn. This Chef is smokin crack!

OK, first the Tuna (seared rare which is perfect) is blackened. NOWHERE on the menu description does it say that. There is just so much wrong with this I don't even know where to start.

First I think what the Chef was going for was a take on a Southern Fav with a "tropical twist". What am I talking about? Does this plate remind you of something? How about cajun catfish with fried green tomatoes and hush puppies?

So working with that concept he blackened the tuna, replaced the hush puppies (deep fried cornmeal balls) with the tempura crab, added asparagus for the whole "Oscar" concept and wasabi to the Hollandaise to give it an Asian flair.

Why is this wrong? Let me show you the plate after I moved things around:

First as far as presentation, the tuna is not sliced. Seared tuna is usually sliced thin after it is cooked. You are presented with two HUNKS of tuna that you have to slice yourself. The slicing actually improves the texture of the fish and hacking at it yourself with your not-so-sharp knife doesn't work.

The red pepper spice on the tuna DOES NOT WORK! It is WAY too spicy and completely detracts from the fish. You can't taste the tuna at all. When I brought this up to the server, she looked at me like I was high and offered to..... take it to the kitchen and WASH IT OFF FOR ME!!!!!!! Let me say that again, WASH IT OFF! WASH MY FISH!!!!! ***??!!!

I told her, no thank you, I would just scrape it off and could she bring me some more sauce and a steak knife since this knife was in no way sharp enough to cut the fish like it should be sliced.

The crab lumps were light, lovely and cooked perfectly. The Green Tomatoes were nice but not the same as they make in Georgia. I did take a doggie box to have leftovers for breakfast (including half of that carb monster bread).

I give this a B-. This will not be a return next trip but I am glad I went. The service was spotty, the food was ill conceived and the server lied to me on numerous occasions, denying me the Pineapple Bread that I sought for so long. Perhaps next time I will go to the podium at Ohana and ask for some to go. Does anyone know if they do that?

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