I hit Kona Jack’s the other day with my friend Suzanne for lunch. I keep telling myself that eating sushi is healthy, even if I like ordering the ones filled with fried bits of things. It’s called rationalization. Or denial. Whatever.
We did however decide to get the tuna tartar (their spelling)($15) as well because we have both been missing the one from H2O Sushi. The flavor here is a pretty close equivalent—with radish, ginger, green onion, cilantro and a sesame dressing. This one has a more distinctly sesame flavor to it, but that is not a bad thing. The hunks of impeccably fresh tuna are cut on the slightly larger side, almost like a poke size, if you are familiar with that dish. So yeah, this may be a little healthier than many of the rolls…until you factor in the fried wontons, which of course you have to do because you need some vehicle to scoop it up with right? And you of course need that crunch to go along with the smooth tuna. It’s a very good version of tuna tartar and it is more than enough to share—at least with two people.
We also got a couple of rolls. And yes, they both had fried bits in them—the first was the shrimp tempura roll, which is pretty classic -–shrimp tempura in the middle with avocado, and then wrapped with rice and Kona’s uses soy paper for this particular one. Not sure why exactly, but I am good with either soy or nori, so fine with me. It’s topped with spicy mayo and eel sauce. It was pretty much what you expect, nothing that made it shine more than others really, but still good. They were on the big side on this visit, which isn’t my favorite thing because then I have to cut them in half, which is not ideal.
Same went for the Tampa roll ($14), which I have had before and really enjoyed. They indulged us by making it for us, even though it wasn’t the special that day. It was good, but just not quite as good as I remember the first time I had it. It has fried grouper inside, along with avocado and wasabi tobiko, which were all good, but I couldn’t put my finger on why it didn’t excite me as much. Maybe the grouper was not as good or something. I think maybe it wasn’t as crunchy, and I like the texture variation in my rolls. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it. Again, I found myself cutting them in half because they were so big.
I feel like Kona Jack’s is a solid option to remember for fresh sushi, particularly on that side of town. And I would happily eat the tuna tartar pretty much any day of the week. It’s also one of my favorite places to buy fresh fish (particularly tuna, halibut and walleye) even if the fish market is a little on the pricey side. But this place has been around for over 20 years, so they must be doing something right.
9419 North Meridian Street