Monday, April 7, 2008

Aloha! (Roy's, Downtown LA)

Chef Roy Yamaguchi is considered to be one of the pioneers in Pacific Rim fusion cuisine. As a child, I was fortunate enough to dine at his first restaurant which was called 385 North in Beverly Hills. Although I don't remember much. I've been to several of Roy's Restaurants, but I've never been to the one closest to me. I've dined at Roy's in Waikoloa on the Big Island of Hawaii and the one in Pebble Beach California, and finally the Downtown Los Angeles location. Recently, my wife received an email informing us that Roy's was celebrating their 20th Anniversary and they were having a special dinner menu. The menu was celebrating some of the original dishes from the past that has made Roy's famous. It was a four course dinner with a wine pairing. And the price tag for this dinner was pretty reasonable at $75. Because the dinner did not include one of my favorite desserts, we opted to order the set menu along with other dishes too. This way we were to able sample even more dishes. As far as the atmosphere, I was surprised to see how big it was. And the majority of the people seemed to be the after work crowd. On a side note, not that I consider Roy's to be a super fancy establishment, but I was surprised to see a few people dressed really casually in baseball caps, T-shirts, and jeans. Not that it bothered me or anything, it just caught me off guard. Overall, the food here was just as good as all my previous experiences at a Roy's Restaurant. The service was very friendly and the food was excellent.

The anniversary menu consisted of a crispy shrimp spring roll served with a sweet and sour black bean dragon sauce. These were very scrumptious. It had nice contrast between the crispiness of the fried spring roll skin and the tenderness of the shrimp and the balance of the sweet and sour sauce. The second dish was the Japanese braised short rib cassoulet. The short ribs were so delectable. Tender as can be. In typical fashion, Roy's Restaurant displays their uniqueness by serving the short ribs with a salsa on top. One wouldn't think that salsa would go together with a Japanese styled braised short rib, but it melded perfectly together. The last of the entrees was the Hakone-style seared Hawaiian Ono. This dish was a perfect end to the entree portion of the set menu. This dish was definitely on the lighter side. The warm macadamia nut tart for dessert very delicious, but not my favorite dessert served at Roy's Restaurant. For this particular reason we composed our own three course tasting menu.

Crispy Shrimp Spring Roll

Japanese Braised Short Rib Cassoulet

Hakone-Style Hawaiian Ono

Warm Macadamia Nut Tart

As far as our own three course dinner creation. We started off by ordering the Crunchy Golden Lobster Potstickers served with a spicy togarashi (Japanese spice) miso butter sauce. These were absolutely delicious. The potstickers were perfectly crunchy and tasty, although it didn't seem like there was any lobster in the filling. The filling of the potstickers tasted more like a pork potsticker. I hope they weren't trying to rip me off. For the main course, we ordered the Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish. This has got to be my all time favorite dish at Roy's Restaurant. The misoyaki butterfish is cooked perfectly and seems to melt in your mouth. The delicate sweetness of the miso blends perfectly with butterfish. This dish is pure perfection! And to top this all off we ordered the Chocolate Souffle. Which is also my favorite! After waiting quite awhile, our waiter informed us that they were having problems with the souffles breaking and that it was going to be an additional wait. In the meantime, our waiter brought us a Panna Cotta on the house. Although this was good, we were here to eat the souffle. After our bellies were already full, the souffle arrived. And it was definitely worth the wait.

Crunchy Lobster Potstickers

Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish

Bonus Dessert!!! (Panna Cotta)

Chocolate Souffle

800 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA

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