Roy’s, Waikiki Beach

January 30, 2008

Roy Yamaguchi, a Tokyo native who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York at 19, opened the original Roy‘s outside Honolulu twenty years ago, inventing Hawaiian fusion cuisine in the process. Now he has 35 Roy‘s scattered around the US and beyond. The most recent is in the heart of tourist Hawaii opposite the Halekulani Hotel where Linda and I were staying. We dined at Roy‘s, Waikiki Beach on January 28, 2008 with Galen and Timothy. Linda and I had been to the Roy‘s in Chandler, Arizona last March and had been very pleasantly surprised by the quality of its fish and its cuisine, which was beautifully presented Japanese-French fusion. We were looking forward to comparing it to Roy‘s, Waikiki Beach, which promised to be more Hawaiian.

We were seated in a booth in the back corner, which was quieter than the tables in the middle. Tables of six to ten people out for a good evening tend to make a lot of noise. The restaurant was full, as we understand it always is.

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The modern décor is enhanced by many flowers, by an open kitchen on one side and windows onto greenery on the other.

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A bowl of delicious, spiced edamame was put on the table.

Having enjoyed our welcome bottle of sparkling wine at the Halekulani we skipped aperitifs at Roy’s and ordered a bottle of 2005 Barnett Vineyards, Tina Marie Vineyard (Russian River Valley) Pinot Noir. Even though it was quite rich, it did not overpower the seafood, which was heavily seasoned.

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Linda’s first course was the “Frying Dragon,” unagi, avocado, miso butterfish, Macadamia nuts and spicy wasabi sauce on the side. It was crisp and full of flavors.

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Timothy started with the Roasted fennel & white shrimp bisque.

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Galen’s starter was the Island style yellowfin ahi “Poketini.”

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Mine was the Big Island Hirame Ceviche, chipotle oil, Maui onion & citrus relish, garlic yuzu sauce.

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Linda went on to the Olive oil poached M.R. Ono, fennel & Kahuku sea asparagus salad, shrimp toast, citrus jalapeño vinaigrette.

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Timothy had the Prosciutto wrapped U-10 Sea Scallops, Big Island goat cheese fritters, baby arugula, sweet tomato vinaigrette.

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Galen’s main course was Roy‘s Classic Trio:
Hibachi Grilled Salmon,
Roy‘s Original Blackened Island Ahi
& Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish
Citrus Ponzu Sauce, Spicy Soy Mustard Butter, Sizzling Soy Vinaigrette.

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Mine was Hawaiian style Misoyaki Butterfish, sweet ginger wasabi beurre blanc. It was a very rich piece of fish.

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For dessert Galen had Roy‘s Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé, Flourless Chocolate Cake with a Hot, Molten Center; served with Raspberry Coulis and Vanilla Ice Cream.

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My dessert was warm pineapple upside down cake with ice cream.

We had a good time. The service was efficient and friendly. The food was enjoyable, but not very sophisticated; certainly not up to the level of the Roy‘s in Chandler. I think that the pressure on Roy’s Waikiki Beach to have Hawaiian aspects, while appropriate, limits the chef. It also encourages the masking of flavors and too much complexity in the composition of the cuisine.

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www.roysrestaurant.com

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2 Responses to “Roy’s, Waikiki Beach”

  1. jerry vance Says:

    Glad you are enjoying the islands and get to see some of the not so touristy sights.

  2. Sally McKinney Says:

    A Roy’s has opened less than two miles from us and your article has inspired me to make reservations.


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