29 December 2015

From the Archives - A Hypnotizing Display

I’ve written a lot of food articles that I’m proud of or, more importantly, that gave me an excuse to try something delicious! Cupcakes have been a specialty, as have full on restaurant reviews and recipes you can make at home. I am, however, never happier than when I turn readers on to an overlooked eatery or an underappreciated menu item. Such was the case when we reviewed Kona Cafe’s Asian Noodle Bowl back in 2012.

I recently returned to Kona Cafe for lunch in the hopes of updating our review, but I think the original pretty much covers all the bases. In this instance, I felt I had no choice but to present it here again for those who had read the original (but I did think I should provide an updated photograph for posterity’s sake). It’s not often that a single dish is prepared so well that I can’t find something that needs improving, but the Asian Noodle Bowl is one of those simple, well-executed meals. Unless they want to give me more of the pepper sauce!

A Hypnotizing Display – Originally Published 22 August 2012

I’m not sure I have the words for how great this single dish is from the Polynesian’s Kona Cafe. The Asian Noodle Bowl is a steaming bowl of broth, noodles, and other tasty bits. Here’s how the menu describes it:

Spiced Beef Broth with Strip Steak, Asian Vegetables and Rice Noodles

That is perhaps the most undeserving and underwhelming explanation of a meal anywhere in Walt Disney World. Chopped greens, peppers, onions, mushrooms and other shredded vegetables fill the spaces between the rice noodles and strips of beef. The rice noodles are thin and chewy, with a bit of crunch from the noodles that haven’t absorbed the broth. The strip steam is thinly sliced, tender, and very juicy. All of these elements are listed in the menu, but they don’t do the bowl justice, and the additions that aren’t listed are what truly make the course.

The spiced broth is solid on its own, a bit of spice and salt, along with the flavors from the meat and vegetables in the rest of the dish. However, the Asian Noodle Bowl is accompanied by a small cup and a won ton soup spoon. The cup contains a puree of peppers meant to turn up the heat on the concoction. The lovely server presented the meal with the warning that the pepper mixture would really make my taste buds feel the burn, so I should slowly add in how much I needed to reach my desired heat level. As I like all things spicy, I ended up using the entire paste and enjoyed every bit of the sweat that broke across my forehead. Also, the sour twinge provided by the lime wedges were great at cutting the brininess of the broth and bringing out the fresh flavors of the vegetables and pepper sauce.

I guess I did have a few more words about the Asian Noodle Bowl than I thought, but if you only take away one word for this dish, let it be ‘delicious.’

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