Friend Adrienne just went on and on about Roy's on a recent visit to Hawaii. While I've thought about going to the Roy's in Newport Beach several times over the last few years, it took her coming out to California to get me to go. I'll admit that I wasn't expecting Roy's to blow me away, but I think it did. Perhaps it was the service? Perhaps it was the great company? Yes, those things definitely went a long way to making this a great night. But the food... surprisingly flavorful.
Spicy, Salty Edamame:
Complimentary at each table
While they had some great sushi roll combinations, I had to settle for the California Roll (baby in the belly). I never really order the California Roll, but Roy's uses a substantial amount of real crab meat and buttery avocado. It gave me my sushi fix, but I will opt for a different roll next time. Perhaps the "Auntie Lei's Aloha Roll?" It's got spicy tuna, kaiware, cucumber, yellowtail, salmon, avocado, and garlic ponzu. Friend Adrienne had a similar roll in Maui, and say's it's "Dyanmite!"
In an effort to live vicariously through Friend Adrienne, she ordered a bite of toro. For those that don't know, toro is the fatty belly of a tuna, and it is quite fabulous. I say it's lick-your-lips good; Friend Adrienne says it's' melts-like-butter good. Many menus price toro by its current market value, but it's usually not too outrageous. I know one person who is going to start seeking out the toro...
Toro - Nigiri Sushi
After our sushi, we started our three course pre-fixe meal. First course choices are Maine Lobster Bisque, Rock Shrimp Tempura, or Vietnamese Lumpia & Bibb Lettuce Wrap. I was really leaning towards the bisque, but our sweet server informed us that there were no lobster pieces in the soup. So, we both went for the shrimp.
The actual shrimp were smaller than I expected, but the unexpected part: OKRA! Seriously, a Southern girl like me takes her okra when she can. The shrimp, in a light tempura batter, was covered in a Malaysian Curry aioli and intermixed with succulent morsels of okra. It almost made me dance. Ok, so maybe not dance, but the okra really was an unexpected little gift. We both agree that we'd make a point to order this again.
Rock Shrimp Tempura
You've got four choices for the main course: Dynamite Crusted Salmon with veggies and rice, Petite Filet, Lemon Basted Tiger Shrimp, or the Tender Braised Beef Short Ribs. We skipped over the surf in favor of the turf.
I ordered the Tender Braised Beef Short Ribs. It was an easy sale once I found out that the short ribs are braised for 48 hours. The meat was certainly fork-tender with a mustardy glaze. They are served with creamy mashed potatoes in a natural braising sauce and some tender broccolini. I really enjoyed the flavors, but I'd probably order something else next time. I wish that I'd brought the left overs home though.
Friend Adrienne went with the Grilled Petite Filet. It's served with in a shitake mushroom pan sauce and loaded red bliss potatoes. In the picture, the potatoes look like deviled eggs. Friend Adrienne reports that the steak was served more at medium temperature, rather than medium-rare (what she ordered), but it wasn't a deal breaker. While it was incredibly tender, she'll probably go back to a fresh fish entree on her next visit.
For dessert, you'll get the pleasure of choosing between the Warm Strawberry Guava Tart or the Melting Hot Chocolate S a' la mode. I guess I can't really vouch for the Tart, but I would highly recommend the . Oh dear goodness! It's exactly as described: melting hot chocolate oozing from the center of a flourless chocolate cake on the same plate with the cool contrast of a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It requires slow spoon movement to accentuate how good it taste - perhaps making the whole experience last a little longer. Apparently, this is one of Roy's signature dishes, and you can find the recipe online.
I should probably take this opportunity to thank Friend Adrienne for bringing me to Roy's. It was a terrific night of food, friends, and friendly "aloha" spirit. I don't have a thing to complain about.
Roy's Hawaiian Fusion
453 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660