In the lobby of Disney's Polynesian Resort, just to the side of the monorail station sits Kona Island. A coffee and pastry counter in the morning, from 5:00pm until 10:00pm in the evening this location turns in to casual sushi bar. There are a handful of seats at the bar side counter, as well as a second counter stretching down the back window towards Kona Cafe. The menu at Kona Island offers cocktails, a select menu of about 13 different sushi rolls, and guests may also order meals off of the standard dining menu from the Kona Cafe next door.
My dining companion and I were excited to give this spot a try. He is a huge sushi fan, but I only eat vegetarian sushi, so it's always an adventure for me. Arriving just prior to it's 5pm opening I took a seat at the counter in front of the Chef (named Josh) as he finished the prep work for the night. We ordered cocktails and a plate of potstickers, from the Kona Menu, as well as several selections off of the standard sushi menu.
My companion ordered the Kona Combo Plate (Luau California Roll, Salmon Sashimi, and Tuna Poke), and and adorable "Caterpillar" Roll that reminded me of the one from Alice in Wonderland. I had the Cucumber Roll, and after chatting with the Chef for awhile, he created me a special veggie roll wrapped in sesame soy paper instead of the more traditional nori.
Sitting right in front of the Chefs and watching them assemble the brightly colored nibbles and bites was a fun and exciting experience. Chef Josh was a delightful addition to our party and made the night memorable by taking the time to make something unique for both of us. The flavors presented were bright and fresh, with exceptionally good fish, and a delightfully clean tasting rice.
While making a roll for another order, Chef Josh came to the end of the piece of tuna. What was left wasn't big enough to be used for anything else, so instead of disregarding it, he made one exciting, spicy, bite on a spoon. Chef Josh offered that bite to my dining companion for his enjoyment.
Kona Island serves dinners both at the sushi counter and with to go service. All items are a la cart and the Disney Dining Plan is not accepted. My family and I are regular sushi eaters, and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience at Kona Island. The atmosphere in the Polynesian Resort's lobby is friendly and tropical, the Chef was attentive, the food was well balanced and delicious. The Kona Island Sushi Bar is going to be a regular stop for future vacations.
Have you eaten at this tropical paradise? What was your favorite part? Leave a comment and let us know!
UPDATE June 2013: The sushi bar has been moved inside of Kona Cafe' Restaurant and no longer offers counter seating.