My husband and I had wanted to try California Grill for long time and had finally gotten around to making an ADR scheduled almost 6 months away. They recently had done a renovation and had reopened. It seemed like too long to wait to try the sushi so when I found out we could try the food without a reservation, we just had go sooner rather than later. If you eat in the Bar or Lounge area, you can go to the check-in desk and see if seating is available in the bar or lounge. Once seating is available, they will take you up to the restaurant. We waited about 15 minutes or so before they were able to accomodate us.
It was really crowded up there. We were able to find two seats at the bar. We got settled in our seats and looked over the menu. We were really interested in trying the sushi, so we asked for a recommendation. The Spicy Kazan was highly recommended as one of the best and most popular items. We ordered the Spicy Kazan and the Dragon Roll, since we both really love tuna.
It was getting near sunset, we enjoyed a panoramic view of the Seven Seas Lagoon before the sun had set. The sushi was pretty good, I couldn’t say it was the best I’ve ever had in all honestly. The Spicy Kazan roll was good, but the sauce overpowered the flavor of the crab. High quality crab meat can stand on it’s own, and it seems lost in that dish, honestly I just couldn’t tast the crab at all. They could have substituted shrimp and it would have tasted the same to me. I want to try their flatbread next time and see how it stacks up against Jiko’s. The service was a little slower than we hoped for, but I know they were working hard and they were very busy. I’m not a wine drinker but they did have a large selections of wines available for you oenophiles. My husband ordered two different craft beers (Founders All Day IPA and Coronado Brewing Co. Orange Avenue Wit) with our meal, he didn’t enjoy them as much as he thought he would because they weren’t that complimentary to each other and neither paired well with the sushi.
Trying California Grill made me appreciate the sushi selection at Kona by comparison, because although California Grill was perhaps slightly better (and that is debateable), it wasn’t really leaps and bounds better than Kona Island Sushi. If I was more adventurous I might find something on Kona’s menu that I like better, I usually order the Volcano Roll. We used our Tables in Wonderland card, and the price after tax and tip was $75.00 for two rolls, two high end craft beers, and an iced tea. We could have had a similar meal at Kona for less, but the view just isn’t the same. I was really expecting a spectacular sushi roll, and what we got were just slightly better than average. I overheard someone say that Califonia Grill was one of the top 25 sushi places in the world, I don’t know if that is true, I highly doubt it.
It was overpriced in my opinion for what it was. It seemed that the price is really partly based on location here, it’s such an exclusive and unique place, that they could set their prices however they like and people would still come. There are some window tables in the lounge if you want a better view. If you are there during Wishes, there is an observation deck where you can go outside to enjoy the fireworks.
If you are feeling adventurous – give it a try. Go for drinks, or split a sushi roll. Just keep in mind you are paying a premium for the view and be sure to enjoy it.