Aloha from Kona Café in Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort!
Kona Café is about as classic as it gets. Though ‘Ohana grabs more of the headlines when it comes to dining in the Polynesian, Kona Café has been its own beloved spot with fans all its own for many years.
We’re visiting today to explore some recent changes to the menu and to taste what’s new on the menu! Before we dig in, though, the meal — as always — starts with fresh soft rolls served with that completely addictive sweet macadamia butter.
Okay, NOW let’s take a look at the menu. Our visit was for lunch, which all falls under the category of All Day Offerings. (Just click on any of the menu images to enlarge.)
Though it was not our mealtime, the Dinner menu, naturally has seen changes, too, including the addition of a Perfect Porterhouse Steak featuring an 8 oz tenderloin and a 14 oz New York Steak entrée for $95.00. Much like a more traditional steakhouse, sauces and sides are also available for an additional cost.
A highlight here for many guests is the Sushi menu including Specialty Rolls in addition to your regular Dragon and California. (This is available during both lunch and dinner.)
First up, appetizers! We went with the Fire-Roasted Pork Wings.
These are wrapped in honey bacon, and served with pickled rainbow carrots. From a flavor perspective, the dish comes together wonderfully.
The bacon has a nice candied quality from the honey glaze, and the pork was well prepared.
We did feel, though, that with only three “wings” it was small for the $12.00 price.
The new Polly Lolly Roll from among the Specialty Sushi Rolls is striking in its presentation and generous in its portion.
This stunning dish features fried soft shelled crab, shrimp tempura and crawfish tails plated with grilled asparagus, chives, a spicy mayo, and garnished with more than a sprinkle tobiko (fish eggs).
Seriously, it’s HUGE. Even better, it is really good.
The shrimp tempura, in particular, was completely on point; in fact, the overall variety of textures was great. And the spicy mayo is an terrific addition to the whole thing, offering a fun kick.
As for entrees, we went some seriously substantial sandwiches starting with the Crispy Cheddar Burger served with fries.
The menu says this burger is “smothered” in crispy cheddar… and it’s NOT KIDDING. Yep — that’s all crispy cheddar! Amazing!
It’s further topped with maple bacon, roasted tomato, and braised onions.
The presentation is pretty great. Unfortunately, the sandwich itself didn’t live up. The patty itself was way too small to hold up to all the cheese and bacon. And it was also overcooked, to boot (our order was medium rare).
The burger patty basically tasted like your regular counter service patty with nothing special about it. Altogether, the dish doesn’t live up to the hype of its appearance.
Things started looking up again with the Hawaiian-style Reuben which begins with the expected corned beef and it is — as anticipated — incredibly tender. The portion is, once again, impressive and easily could be sharable.
The “Hawaiian-style” twist includes the addition of kalua pork to the meat along with kimchi, Havarti cheese, root veggies, and a mustard-tomato aioli. Both meats had terrific flavor.
You can’t really tackle this as a regular sandwich, since the bottom piece of bread can’t really hold up the heaviness of the meats, but just grab a fork and dig in to enjoy (especially you kimchi fans out there, because it is awesome on this sandwich)!
There is a definite change to the desserts as well. Servers now bring out a dessert tray you can peruse full of individual glass servings. Our server shared that, because the portions are so large for the meals, the desserts are smaller for guests who still have room for just a little something sweet.
There is not an actual physical menu to show you, but each of the above options is $5.00. These include Tiramisu, S’mores, Tapioca Pudding, Bananas Foster, and Key Lime. (Sadly, there is no more Kona Kone at Kona Cafe.) Note that Dinner may include other options such as a Strawberry Champagne dessert.
Of the three we tried, the Key Lime had a terrific burst of bright lime flavor that was really delicious.
But I actually would’ve preferred more of the graham cracker crumbs to deliver a little more of that traditional taste and texture of a key lime pie.
Still, it was tasty, and a very close second to the lovely Tiramisu which was rich in creamy texture and espresso flavor.
Though it placed third among the three we tried, it’s still fair to say that the Tapioca Pudding was also yummy, complete with its fresh fruit toppings and a few popping pearls as a fun play along with the textured tapioca.
As we mentioned, Kona Cafe is a classic dining destination, with dishes that many guests — including us! — have grown to love over the years. From the previous menu, these include Sticky Wings and Asian Stir Fry, along with the Kona Kone for dessert. But as far as quality goes, our meal today was — Crispy Cheddar Burger notwithstanding — still very solid. Sushi fans, in particular, should still be pleased (seriously, try the Polly Lolly Roll!), but the regular All Day menu has some good dishes.
And we do want to stress again that the new items we had are all part of the All Day menu. Whether or not the semi-steakhouse from the Dinner menu will fly? Time will tell on that one, and we’ll be curious to see where today’s Kona Café goes from here!
What do you think of the new offerings at Kona Café? Please let us know with a comment!