Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kon Asian Bistro (39 of 50)

Restaurant: Kon Asian Bistro
Location: 553 Main Street, East Greenwich, RI 02818
Cuisine: Japanese Hibachi and Sushi
Price: Pretty average for Hibachi/Sushi (~$15-$20 per person)
Score: 39
Would I eat there again: Yes

Kon Asian Bistro has been getting a lot of attention in the year since it opened in East Greenwich.  After our initial visit last week it seems that most of it is pretty well deserved.  Located in an unassuming strip mall on main street, Kon has done an impressive job of turning a blank box into a very comfortable eatery.

We encountered a 45 minute wait (and it looked longer when we left) but thankfully they have designated a fairly large area in the front of their restaurant as tall bar table seating and a waiting area for the hungry hordes.  We started off with the house Merlot (Robert Mondavi) which was surprisingly enjoyable (the wine tasting we had done just before dinner at The Savory Grape also helped relax us for the wait and is highly recommended).  The bar selection was pretty standard and vodka centered, but the crowd around us seemed to be drinking it in with no complaints.

A huge buddha sits in the middle of the restaurant behind a 15 foot goldfish pool and a pretty divider/waterfall setup separates the front (regular dining/sushi) from the hibachi area in the back.  We ended up sitting next to the fish pool, which turned out pretty well except for when I dropped my chopsticks in the water (and the sleeve of my jacket, and my napkin).  Service was polite and fairly attentive and waters were refilled once.

We dined on the sushi and sashimi for two option which comes with soup or salad for both, and then 10 pieces of sashimi, 18 pieces of sushi, and a nice selection of maki rolls.  The salad was uninspired sushi restaurant salad- iceberg with tomato and the ginger orangey dressing.  The miso held up pretty well, good depth of flavor and taste without being overwhelmingly salty.

The plate with our mountain of sushi was pretty impressive.  I had wanted to get the sushi boat (ours looked even better than that one) option for a long time at any restaurant, and tonight was my lucky night.  The sashimi portion was arranged on a straw mat that was over a bowl filled with ice and a battery powered blue light that shone up through the ice and highlighted the sashimi from underneath.  Sounds corny, but it looked pretty darn neat.  The fish on the platter was all fresh and tasty, with a selection of tuna, yellowtail, flounder, striped bass, and crab stick.  It appeared that there was a light sprinkling of a salt on top of the fish, hopefully it was just sea salt and not MSG, but either way it tasted pretty darn good.  The yellowtail was exceptionally memorable and complex.  Our maki rolls were clean tasting and enjoyable- not as impressive as the sashimi, but perfectly acceptable.  The sushi offering matched the sashimi and tasted just as good.

Conclusion:
Kon Asian Bistro has won over the hearts and stomachs of many Rhode Islanders in the short year it has been open.  It is very well designed and crafted, and has quality sushi and at a reasonable price.  The attention to detail and consistently happy diners get Kon Asian Bistro a spot on the top ten list!

Kon Asian Bistro on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Mel said...

No offense but I think you got lucky with your experience. I very much wanted to love Kon. I was one of those people that kept checking in and anticipating their opening. I've been there a handful of times too many because I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt since they have been the talk of EG upon their arrival.

Almost all of the times I've been there the service has been rude and nonexistent. Even if it's busy, that's not the correct way to run a business. The sushi rolls are blah and the sashimi inconsistent with their freshness. There's honestly nothing special about their "House Special Rolls." Many of the rolls share the exact same common ingredient, shrimp tempura! To me, sushi is raw, but that's just me.

And in terms of authenticity, they're not it. Their version of the mini beijing duck is a decent effort but nothing comparable to Momofuku which is where I assumed they tried to bootleg the idea. I've never had such an altered version of mango shrimp before. All I saw and got stuck in my teethe were the chili flakes. Try Penang's version and you'll know what I'm talking about.

It's really a Pan-Asian restaurant that claims to be fusion. Drinks I agree are pretty standard as well though some of the bartenders are quite friendly unlike the rest of the staff. A couple of drinks made Kon more enjoyable.

I've had mediocre experiences here at best. The worst was when we our party's dinner was more or less forced to end when apparently they had another table coming in and needed us to leave. Not very hospitable.

All in all, I would go back for the atmosphere and perhaps a light snack or appetizers. Looks like in terms of food, Seven Moons still has the edge. ;-)