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Veggie Guy: Kona Grill

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You might not know that Kona Grill has a completely separate menu for vegans. They keep it hidden behind the host's stand and don't advertise it on their regular menu.

Why keep it hidden? No idea. As one of my friends says, "It's like winking at someone in the dark."

Vegans who have been graced by the out-of-sight menu (on two wrinkled sheets of 8.5x11 all-purpose paper) are already aware that Kona Grill's does a good job with veg-fare. But for those who haven't...

Starters listed are edamame, seaweed salad, and three different kinds of Maki rolls. The Cucumber and Avocado Rolls are simply cucumber or avocado wrapped in seaweed and rice, and the Vegetable Roll comes with asparagus, avocado, yamagobo, cucumber, and sprouts. Portobello Mushroom (available at lunch only) is a marinated and grilled marinated cap on a Kaiser roll with grilled red onions, zucchini, tomatoes, and served with taro chips.

Then there's a line of vegan fusion, for lack of a better phrase. The Pan-Asian Noodles are Udon noodles topped with fried tofu and spicy black bean garlic sauce. Linguine Marinara can be made vegan by omitting butter and parmesan. Also on the menu is a short list of salads and vegan-friendly salad dressings: Onion Soy dressing, Sweet Soy, and Oil & Vinegar (Balsamic and red or white wine vinegar). Veganized salad suggestions are the House Salad (field greens, diced tomatoes, and cucumbers), Roasted Asparagus Salad (field greens, marinated and grilled onions, asparagus, and tomatoes), and Oriental Salad (Napa cabbage, green onions, and toasted almond slices tossed in Sweet Soy dressing).

Side dishes suitable for vegans include steamed wok vegetables, grilled asparagus, steamed baby bok choy, steamed spinach, steamed or sweet rice, and fried taro chips.

That's not bad, as far as hidden treasures go. But the best thing about Kona Grill is their double Happy-Hour. Monday through Friday, Happy-Hour goes from 3-7 PM, and reverse Happy-Hour is from 9-11 PM on Monday through Thursday, and 10 PM to Midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Yeah, we're all about cheap drinks here around here!

Kona Grill
NorthPark Center
8687 North Central Expressway
214-369-7600

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