Thursday, July 30, 2009

Kona Grill

Kona Grill
14395 Clay Terrace Blvd # 180
Carmel, IN 46032
(317) 566-1400

Kona Grill is the first restaurant I tried in Indianapolis, way back in high school. I was visiting a friend who loves sushi and Kona happen to be one of his favorite. Even though it was years ago I still remember my unforgettable experience, seared swordfish that was oh so moist! Now that I live here, I occasionally go to Kona for their happy hour specials and sushi. On my most recent visit I decided to try something off the dinner menu, something i rarely do anymore. It was a satisfying meal for me but a bumpy ride for my friends.

Kona is located at Clay Terrace outside mall in Carmel. It offers American cuisine with an edge, exciting Asian fusion, fresh seafood, and award-winning sushi. The ambience is very chic. You have the option of sitting in the dining area, patio, or at the bar. I highly recommend the bar area because you have front row seats to the gigantic fish tank filled with exotic fish. The prices can get expensive depending one what you order, especially steaks and seafood. Don't worry you are not just paying for the service and atmosphere, the food is actually really good.

We went during the happy hour special so we just couldn't pass up the $5 calamari. The calamari is fried in a light batter and serve with a spicy mayo sauce. It is crispy on the outside yet still tender on the inside. I order the calamari on every visit and it just doesn't get old!

Next up is the happy hour sushi roll for just $3. You can choose rolls with crab, shrimp, salmon, tuna, or some vegetarian option. The happy hour sushi are tasty for the money but I much prefer the sushi off the regular menu. I like big rolls filled with all sort of seafood that you can barely get into your mouth.

For the main course, I ordered the fresh seafood linguine with mussel, scallop, and shrimp. The linguine is toss in a creamy tomato sauce, very subtle in flavor but in a good way. The mussels were grilled separately and added to the pasta before serving. I'm usually not a fan of mussels but the sweetness made them my favorite part of the meal. I expected a lot of pasta and a few shrimp here and there but as you can see you get plenty.

My friends shared the pork tenderloin topped with a shitake mushroom sauce. It also came with a nice helping of white cheddar mashed potatoes and sauteed baby bok choy. Unfortunately, the baby bok choy was the best thing about the dish. The tenderloin was drenched in the mushroom sauce which is such a turn off because it really take away the natural flavor of the meat. After trying a bite I was a bit glad for the sauce because the pork was dry and bland. I guess we came on a bad night for the pork tenderloins because my friends have had them before and loved it.

The pork tenderloin certainly did not scare me away. I have had so many good experiences at Kona that I will return for more. If you are ever in the north side, give Kona a try or at least come for the happy hour. Happy hour specials include appetizers, sushi, pizzas, and drink specials. Check website for for hours.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bo Tai Chanh - Rare Beef Lime Salad


When other little girls love eating cupcakes and brownies, I like man's food. What I mean by that is "mon nhau", the Vietnamese term for food eaten while drinking. My dad often took me along to his friend's house to drink when I was little. Before you start judging my dad, I was there because there are always other little kids for me to play with. I love asking my dad for whatever they have availabe to eat because they are all so great. Common "mon nhau" are roasted beef, steamed offals with shrimp paste, blood sausage, and just about everything deep fried. When you are a kid and in the middle of playing, the last thing you want to do is waste 30 minutes of your time trying to finish your meal. I rather have something quick and have little bit of everything.

One of my favorite is the Rare Beef Lime Salad, introduced to me by my cousin. It was tender and so flavorful with the lime, fish sauce, and spicy herbs. I can eat that all day while listening to my dad talk with his friends. My cousin's specialty was "mon nhau" so he gave me some pointers to preparing this dish. To get tender meat, try cooking small portions of the sliced beef in pineapple juice or coconut juice.  Bo tai chanh can be eaten with different sauce, nuoc cham.  If you have access to soy bean sauce, I highly recommend that but a simple chili ginger fish sauce would be great as well.


2 lb of thinly sliced beef (any lean cut is fine)
1/2 medium onion (thinly sliced)
2 lime
2 cup of pineapple juice
1/2 cup of Vietnamese coriander (rough chopped)
fish sauce
fresh chilies
crushed peanuts
1/2 red bell pepper (optional)
1 large can of pineapple juice


ground soy bean sauce
minced garlic
minced chilies


4 tablespoon of soy bean sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/4 of lime
1/4 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced chilies

1. Boil pineapple juice.  You want to dip the sliced beef in the hot pineapple juice and remove right away.  I like to use a small strainer.  
2. Drain the beef liquid.
3. Squeeze 3 whole lime in a bowl. Add the beef to the lime juice. Wrap up the beef and let cool in the fridge while you work on other steps.
4. Add about 2 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the sliced onions.
5. Rough chopped the Vietnamese coriander. Thinly sliced the red bell pepper.
6. Prepare the peanuts.
7. Add some fish sauce to the beef and mix.
8.  Add the bell pepper, fresh chilies and sliced onions to the beef and mix.
9.  Move the beef salad to a clean plate. Top off with crushed peanuts and coriander.
10. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tegry Bistro

I used to love sushi but now not as much. I guess I encountered a few disappointing places that makes me want to steer clear of sushi sometimes. When I do have a sushi craving, I know exactly where to go! I was introduced to Tegry Bistro located in Brownsburg when I joined my friend's family for dinner. Since there were several of us we ordered a little bit of everything. I love just about everything I put in my mouth that night, even Uni (raw Sea Urchin eggs). It's a bit far from my apartment so I haven't gone back since. That has now change since there is also location in Indianapolis.

Tegry Bistro
6010 W 86th St # 140
Indianapolis, IN 46278-1412
(317) 802-9770

Dress: Casual
Reservation: No, but from what I heard the Brownsburg location can be extremely busy on the weekend.

Tegry Bistro is located in a plaza off 86th street right by Marsh. It's the size of any typical sushi place, which has a bar and a patio. The place has dark lighting and the decor is clean and modern, a great place to hang out and have a few drinks. We were very excited when reading the sushi menu because there are a lot to choose from. The smaller makis such as Unagi or California roll run from $5-$7, and the house special makis run up to about $13. They don't offer a lot of traditional Japanese entree such as Katsudon but have more westernized entrees such as grilled seafood and meat.

The sushi we ordered were all delicious! We love how Tegry Bistro adds a little bit of fresh greens such as watercress to each roll. I highly recommend the crunch roll with crispy shrimp tempura drizzled with spicy mayo for only $5. Another favorite of mine is the spider roll, so we had to try the house special roll Super Spider. It was like any typical spider roll except they use soy paper and topped it off with shredded crab meat. Our last roll to try is the Graduation roll which has raw scallop and tuna. The raw scallop was amazing because it literally melted in our mouth. We all agree that the sushi were great and inexpensive for the portion size.

In addition to the sushi we ordered two lunch entrees, grilled scallop and shrimp tempura. They were both good but didn't really wow us and they were expensive for such a small portion. I would probably pass on both next time and just order more sushi. I will definitely come back again for the sushi and will recommend Tegry to any sushi lover in the Indianapolis area.