Kon Asian Bistro
I had lunch at Kon in Portland yesterday as it happens and it was pretty awful.
Attractive, impressive decor. A very large place, improbably-located where Valle's used to be on Brighton Ave: kind of a no-future location for a restaurant these days. Your neighbors are seriously-sketchy motels, Denny's, rent-to-own and large vacant parking lots.
I was in the mood for Chinese food and ordered the crispy Szechuan shredded beef. What appeared was more like General Tso's chicken rendered as a beef dish: sticks of beef coated in batter and deep-fried, served with a sticky supersupersweet sauce like Coca Cola syrup. Nothing whatsoever to do with classic Szechuan shredded beef, which is dry-cooked. I couldn't finish it.
Accompanying this I got a complimentary California roll, shumai, and miso soup: all Japanese! The soup tasted off, the rest was OK.
Price was very low ($14.00 for all this with beer), but that beef dish just put me off.
I really don't like the pan-Asian thing, and it's at its worst here. Mostly Japanese, a smattering of Chinese, bit of Thai. NO Korean or any of the many other Asian cuisines. And everything gets jumbled up whether you want it or not.
I went up to check out the sushi bar and it's very generic: not at all inspiring.
Probably the best light one can shine on Kon is to view it as a run-of-the-mill off-the-insterstate Japanese restaurant with a limited selection and some Chinese/Thai dishes.
OMG Dual what you've said is right on the money. So I guess I was wrong to suggest trying it during the daytime as well then. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who thought that the so called Szuchuan shredded beef was a joke. I've had that dish in their RI location and I thought it was disgusting. My friends all said it was great so I felt like the freak! I don't even understand how the RI location gets such great reviews--their food is mediocre at best. I really believe that it's the decor that somehow captivates everyone's attention that they're not even aware of the lackluster food. They're a wannabe pan-asian restaurant that only touches base with the most basic of mainstream Asian cuisine. Yet they can't even make the basic taste great nor authentic. Disappointing really. Just glad to find someone else who hasn't been sucked in by them.
I just tried in on Sunday. I'd save my time. I've been to the one in EG as well. Even there, the food was alright. Nothing spectacular. In Portland, when my friends and I went in, it was dead. Only one other table in there and the number of staff outnumbered the patrons. It was primetime for dinner. The decor was beautiful though. If anything, I'd go for lunch to check out the decor so you can save yourself some money. The sushi didn't look fresh and the sushi chefs weren't very friendly. We also felt like we were being watched the whole time we were eating. Perhaps they need to work out some kinks but I think location has a lot to do with it. I'd much rather head over to Fuji or Benkay. Is there ever going to be a decent sushi place in Portland? Sigh.