Among the many restaurant recommendations we received prior to our trip to Hawaii, Roy’s was consistently on the list. Even LC’s sophisticated great uncle AB suggested Roy’s, saying that the blackened ahi tuna appetizer was his favorite. Although it’s a chain with 28 locations (gasp!) nationwide, Roy’s is a Hawaiian chain, so I agreed to try Yamaguchi’s reinvented island classics, utilizing exotic local produce and fresh fish from nearby shores.
There was a Roy’s within walking distance of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, so we dressed up, then put on our flip flops and headed into town. We chose a romantic table on the patio and started off with a couple of cocktails. LC ordered the basil cucumber collins, which I refused to try due to my disdain for cucumbers. I tend to order cocktails made with champagne. Here, the Hummingbird fit the bill, made with St. Germain elderflower, sparkling, and club soda.
Our dinner was comprised of a hodge podge of small plates. We felt obligated to try the blackened ahi appetizer, and were pleased we did, enjoying the tuna’s velvety texture…the best ahi on the island so far.
Although I was hesitant to order a sushi roll containing tempura shrimp and cream cheese, LC wanted to try the ebi roll. Unfortunately, not just the shrimp was fried, but the entire roll was crusted with coconut flakes then deep fried, only particially redeemed by the heavy drizzling of habanero aioli. Fried sushi just doesn’t seem right me.
Our server warned it was a small portion, but we were still lured into ordering an appetizer special called lobster escargot. Exactly what you think it is, chunks of lobster meat were baked with garlic butter in a traditional escargot dish. Clever, but not a good value. More little pieces of lobster were found in the creamy side of lobster mac.
For our non-seafood dish, we chose the pork belly dim sum with the super-complicated description of “miso-maple, shishito-cilantro gel, candied stem (stem?), black sesame seeds”. Don’t try to understand it, just enjoy each sweet, savory, crispy bite.
LC claims we had dessert…perhaps the warm caramel macadamia-almond tart? I don’t remember it and there’s no photographic evidence, so as far as I know, it never happened.
I think Roy’s accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do, serve food that appeals to the masses, yet satisfies the gourmand. Twenty-five years of Hawaiian fusion in the aloha spirit!
226 Lewers Street 808-923-7697