By Debbie Boehm
When my husband and I planned our April 2012 trip to Walt Disney World we chose to stay at the Polynesian Resort and made one dining reservation – breakfast at Kona Café. The last time we had stayed at the Polynesian was in 1994 with our three children and we were looking forward to revisiting the resort.
Our reservation was for breakfast on Sunday morning at 9:30 am. We arrived, as suggested, 20 minutes before our scheduled time and were promptly seated five minutes early. Although the restaurant was busy it was quiet and cozy. I was so torn between Tonga Toast and Macadamia Nut Pancakes but went with the Tonga Toast. After all there are pancake houses close to home and I can get anything I want on a pancake there. So I ordered the Tonga Toast bacon and pineapple juice. This is one of the few places that still serves pineapple juice. Coffee was brought to our table along with a plate of butter and syrups.
When our server brought the Tonga Toast to the table I knew I had made the right decision. Two inch thick sourdough bread stuffed with bananas, battered and deep fried and then rolled in cinnamon sugar was pure heaven. Fresh strawberry syrup complemented the taste and brought a smile to my face. A wedge of fresh pineapple was the perfect touch to complete the plate. There’s no way to describe the explosion of flavors when you take that first bite. It’s a perfect balance between the toast and the fruits – a tropical taste sensation.
Several nights later, with the weather not cooperating, we found ourselves looking for a place to have a sit down meal for dinner and decided to see what the concierge could do for us. As luck would have it there was an opening at 5:30 for dinner at Kona Café! This worked perfectly as we were reluctant to leave the hotel in the rain.
Once again, off we went to the restaurant to be early for our reservation. Having heard about the Lapu Lapu for months from friends I had to have one. When the drink arrived it was an entire pineapple carved to be the vessel for this delicious tropical rum drink. I was pleased that my friends were right and the drink was absolutely outstanding. The Lapu Lapu contains Myers’s Original Dark Rum and tropical fruit juices served in a fresh pineapple topped with Bacardi 151 rum.
My husband and I decided to split the Pot Stickers as an appetizer. The perfect appetizer for sharing was four wok-seared Pork and Vegetable Dumplings with a creamy Soy-Ginger Sauce. They were very tasty and for people who like pot stickers they were perfect. A small cutting board with bread and honey butter was brought with the appetizer. Delicious, light and airy the bread is a little sweet.
For my entree I chose the Teriyaki-Style New York Strip, a Sirloin Strip grilled with Pineapple Teriyaki Glaze served with Sticky Rice and Stir-fried Broccolini. However, I asked for mashed sweet potatoes to be substituted for the rice. Substitution was not a problem at all. I ordered the steak medium rare and it was cooked perfectly. Although a steak knife was brought to the table I could easily have cut the steak with a butter knife. The mashed sweet potatoes were smooth and creamy and seasoned beautifully with maple syrup. Portions sizes for the sides were just right.
My husband’s choice for his main course was the Kona Coffee-rubbed Pork Chop which is grilled and served with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and seasonal Vegetables. If I say that he was ready to gnaw on the bone would that tell you how delicious that pork chop tasted? He also sampled my steak which he said was amazing.
To order dessert or not? Well, of course, I just had to have the Banana Chocolate Crème Bruleé. Oh, my goodness, banana crème bruleé covering a layer of chocolate with a swirl of dark chocolate and half of a banana caramelized to top it all off! Who could resist? Not this dessert lover! When I say this was the best crème bruleé I’ve ever had, you have to believe me. The little crunch of the sugar coating and the creaminess of the crème bruleé combined with the touch of chocolate made my mouth water. Accompanied by delicious coffee this was the perfect ending to our dinner.
My advice to those considering Kona Café for an ADR while on vacation at Walt Disney World….I would say just do it! Two meals in one week at the same restaurant was something we’d never done but we just might have to do it again!