Monday, January 25, 2010

Kona Jack's- Lunch

The other day we were on our way to pick up some fresh seafood for dinner at one of the few places you can count on it actually being fresh, and decided hey, why not actually eat lunch here too? We have eaten at Kona Jack’s for dinner, and to be honest, it sort of bores me…so it has been awhile since we have been back. But we thought we should give it a go for lunch. I mean, honestly, they have the freshest seafood at their fresh fish counter of anywhere in the City (well the Goose too but you have to order it), and I buy it for home cooking rather frequently. It is really the only place I buy fish on a regular basis.

Anyhow, when we went for lunch, we literally got what I think was the second to last table in the place. It was jammed! We perused the menu and just when I thought I had decided, the server went over the specials which tempted me. I was torn between a very yummy sounding sushi roll and what I ended up ordering—the beer battered fish (cod) and chips. The fact that they had two kinds of fish and chips, a breaded fish (perch) as well as the beer battered one gave me faith that maybe this would be good. It obviously wasn’t just a “fish” that was frozen and dumped in a fryer and called fish and chips right? And I love a good battered fish and chips.

Anyhow, while the fish itself was pleasantly juicy and the batter had a nice flavor, with just the right amount of beer flavor, they did not quite pull off the requisite crunchy exterior. You need a really crispy outside shell right? And still soft but moist fish inside. There were a few bites that were crunchy, but most of them were a little soggy—i.e. soft on the outside. That does not make for good fish and chips. The chips, or French fries, were the big steak fry type, which are the traditional English-style chip, but they just don’t really do anything for me. I wish I would have ordered that roll. And judging by the amount of sushi rolls coming out of that part of the kitchen, a lot of people were ordering them.

Of course, this only brings me to me next quandary…I can totally appreciate using raw fish in a creative and tasty way, but somehow, if you have the quality to start with (which Kona Jack’s certainly does), how hard is that? You gotta be able to cook it properly too right? Well, they didn’t pull off the fish and chips so well and frankly, it is a little frustrating considering the high quality of their ingredients.

Hubby had an oyster po boy sandwich with breaded oysters and bread with a bit of cole slaw. First of all the oysters looked huge, and I think they were sort of above average in size (which I am sure you regular readers know is not my favorite thing). But as hubby explained to me (I didn’t even want to try them, they just didn’t look that appetizing) actually there was so much breading, you could barely taste the oyster—and that they actually weren’t that big. So, overall, I would venture to say, he would likely not order this again either. Again, frustrating to see a quality ingredient that just wasn’t very good once it was cooked.

So, this wasn’t a great lunch. This is true. But I have to say, watching the stuff coming from the sushi portion of the kitchen inspires me to go back. And I know the fish is good. And regardless of whether I eat in the restaurant, I will be a loyal customer of the fish market for a long long time.

Kona Jack’s
9419 N. Meridian Street
Indy 46260


  1. I haven't tried the fish n chips or oyster po boy. IMO- Kona Jack's has the best fried shrimp in town. Not too bready and fresh & perfectly done (& a huge portion- enough to share). I always sit in the sushi bar (more atmosphere) and if I'm there at dinner I sub a baked potato for the fries (I'm not sure if they do that at lunch). Give the fried shrimp a try.

  2. Kona and all those "Jack'" restaurants are always slammed for week-day lunches with all the offices around there. They used to have great sushi -- years ago, but it was pricy and seemed to go downhill when they didn't have chefs to make it happen. They do still have great fish (although I've gotten bad advice there before -- which I chalked up to untrained/unknowledable sellers). That said, I don't know if they're good anymore or not, but would hope that their fate rested on their ability to properly prepare fish in some other way than fried.

  3. Kona's is a highly preferred business lunch place on the north side; I
    go there at least once a month. I'm afraid that you probably did not
    order the right items. For example the fried shrimp (lunch version,
    not the dinner version) is my favorite - lots of medium size, crunchy
    shrimp. Soups - Seafood gumbo and clam chowder are some of the best
    around. Fish sandwiches with the pesto mayo are great, too.

    Give them another try, you should like them better.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. wow! I will give it another try...and update to follow! thanks you guys.