One of my favorite ways to celebrate Fridays is to go to Roys Hawaiian Fusion for their Aloha Hour. From 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Roys offers fresh Hawaiian specialty cocktails for $5, including Roy’s original Hawaiian martini with sweet Maui pineapples, SKYY vodka, Stoli vanilla vodka and Malibu coconut rum. It’s shaken and served with a slice of fresh pineapple. Sipping this libation makes me feel as if I’m on vacation. The signature-1988 Martini has the tartness of grapefruit with antioxidants of pomegranate and is garnished with a lychee fruit. 1988 is the year that Roy Yamaguchi opened his first Roy’s in Honolulu, Oahu.
Go early, because the place is filled with happy people crowding around tables or sitting along the bar drinking their discounted tropical drinks and nibbling on aloha hour crunchy golden lobster potstickers dunked in a spicy Togarashi miso butter sauce or lobster California roll with lobster salad, avocado, cucumber and Tobiko (flying fish roe) for $5 each. After 6:30 p.m. these rolls are $9.95 and $11.95.
Sure many restaurants are offering Happy Hour with $5 sliders and chicken wings, however Roy’s prepares each appetizer with a Hawaiian twist. The sliders here are made with Wagyu beef and caramelized onions, chipolte aioli on a pretzel bread bun and garlic sweet potato fries in the middle of the plate. The salt and pepper crisped calamari is accompanied with a Hawaiian fusion dipping sauce.
The menu changes with every season. Right now, Roy’s is offering a Winter Fusion prix fixe menu with a choice of one from three appetizers, four different entrees and two desserts for $35.95.
We ordered from the prix fixe and the regular menu. For starters we enjoyed the poached pear and pecan salad. It’s served with mixed greens and dressed with a divine lemongrass port vinaigrette. I savored the local greens salad with red and yellow baby beets, tiny dollops of goat cheese, toasted macadamia nuts and adorned with a truffle dressing with a ginger kick.
For entrees we ordered the grilled Wagyu meatloaf served with sour cream and chive mashed potatoes and bathed in a braised mushroom sauce. One bite from this meatloaf and I exclaimed, “This is not at all like my mother’s meatloaf.” The meat is very moist and flavorful. It’s flecked with diced carrots and onions.
When I asked our server, born and raised in Oahu, how the chef prepares this dish, he replied “Sous-vide. It’s a French word for under vacuum.” This cooking method bathes meat in a sealed plastic bag in warm water at 140 degrees for hours. This type of cooking maintains the integrity of the ingredients and allows the essence of the herbs and vegetables to be absorbed into the meat. The meat is taken out of the bag and then grilled before served on a Roy’s signature plate.
Another entrée we enjoyed was the spicy basil and parsley seared Dover sole. The fish is presented on top of a bed of butter whipped mashed potatoes, sautéed leeks, broccoli and soft baby carrots. The sienna colored Maine lobster curry sauce gives the dish a heavenly zip of spicy flavors.
For dessert, Roy’s serves a melted hot chocolate soufflé with a thick raspberry coulis sauce and generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream with a sprinkling of chocolate chips. It’s made with five ingredients; semi sweet dark chocolate, sugar, butter, eggs and corn starch. They also prepare a scrumptious pineapple upside down cake.
For those guests who enjoy the food at Roy’s, they offer cooking classes throughout the year and list recipes for some of their most popular dishes on their website http://www.roysrestaurant.com/whatsnew/recipes/. With 31 locations around the world including Japan and Guam, Roy’s offers a friendly and unique Hawaiian dining experience that is the next best thing to being on the islands. Happy Aloha Hour is from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and after 9 p.m. to closing on Sunday through Friday. 800 S. Figueroa St., (213)488-4994 and in Pasadena at 641 East Colorado Blvd. (626) 356-4066, Also in Newport Beach and Anaheim.$$
via Roys Hawaiian Fusion.