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Roy's Restaurant - Hawaiian Fusion?

Muhlyssa Sep 26, 2001 03:08 PM

Is anyone familar with this chain of Hawaiian Fusion Cusine? They have locations in Newport Beach, La Jolla, San Francisco, Pebble Beach, Arizona, New York, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii and other states.

They just opened one up in Rancho Mirage and since we are going to the desert this weekend, I thought we'd try it. I heard Meril Schnidler interview the owner and it sounded pretty fun.

Has anyone been to any of their other locations and if so, comment on the experience?


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  1. s
    SusanB RE: Muhlyssa Sep 26, 2001 03:11 PM

    I've been to the Waikiki one . . . but that was back in the beginning stages of my chowhoundishness. I remember the food being excellent, and the atmosphere being loud, crowded and rushed. Again, that was like 5 years ago. Let us know how it is!

    2 Replies
    1. re: SusanB
      More of Everything RE: SusanB Sep 26, 2001 06:32 PM

      I was at the Roy's in Mauii a few years ago, and still remember the fantastic Hawaiian short ribs. For dessert, we had a great chocalate souffle that the four of us fought over.

      1. re: More of Everything
        john gonzales RE: More of Everything Sep 27, 2001 03:26 PM

        Roy's food is excellent. Since opening so many outlets the food is obviously less consistent with Roy seldom if ever present. (The original is in Hawaii Kai/ Honolulu) He is one of the forefathers of this type cuisine. Previously worked here in L.A. at L'Orangerie and 385 North. Try fish if it's fresh, and definitely have the chocolate (lava) souffle for dessert.

    2. l
      LBQT RE: Muhlyssa Sep 26, 2001 04:50 PM

      Have eaten at two of his places on Maui a couple of times, and the one at Pebble Beach. The ones on Maui were better. Lots of fresh local seafood. At Pebble Beach I remember being disappointed in a fish served in a thin saffron sauce - too much saffron, and not enough other flavors. The meals in Maui were good, though not memorable enough for me to provide specifics (they were also a couple of years ago). I do recall thinking the portions on one occasion were small given the prices, but that the dishes were unusual, good, and beautifully presented. I'd give it a go, and please give us a report.

      1. b
        BTraub RE: Muhlyssa Sep 26, 2001 05:18 PM

        The "Roy" is Roy Yamaguchi. He got his start here in LA, I believe (can't recall all the restaurants he worked at, perhaps Michael's ??) in the early 1980's. He scored a hit with his own place 385 North (located at 385 North La Cienega), which was one of the first Asian "fusion" fine restaurants around. He closed it in the late-'80's or early '90's to move to Hawaii (where he was raised, I think), where he opened Roys. He's now opened Roys' in lots of places. When it opened in Hawaii, Roys' was considered the finest restaurant on the islands, one of the few to offer a "fine dining" experience. Haven't eaten there myself, so can't comment, but I thought some history might interest you.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BTraub
          Hiko Ikeda RE: BTraub Sep 27, 2001 06:47 PM

          Very recently a Tokyo-based English newspaper had the following story.

          Link: http://www.weekender.co.jp/LatestEdit...

        2. g
          Griller141 RE: Muhlyssa Sep 26, 2001 09:55 PM

          Have been to Roy's Kahana (about 4400 Honoapiilani Rd in Kahana, Maui) and Roy's Nicolina (named for his daughter, nearby) many times. Have finicky teenage kids who, when asked "what's the best restaurant you've ever been to?", unhesitatingly answer one of these. Surprisingly traditional takes, with intensified flavors, on ribs, local fish, and traditional vegetables - even French fries. Nobody doesn't like Roy's preparations and chowhounds will delight in the "kick it up a notch" intensity without the Emeril kitsch. Don't expect Sedlar-like innovation, but you'll like the low risk amplification of old favorites.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Griller141
            Richard Foss RE: Griller141 Sep 27, 2001 12:42 PM

            I have been to the Roy's in Maui and in Honolulu and had excellent meals both times. I understand that he is something of a hero locally for his championing of not merely Hawaiian ideas about cooking, but also local ingredients and growers. I was told that the get-it-if-it's-avaialble item at his restaurants in Hawaii is the wild boar. The feral beasts run wild in the islands and are a dangerous nuisance and ecological disaster. Every once in a while the bounty hunters bring in a few and give them to Roy, and glorious things are said to happen afterwards.

          2. p
            Paul RE: Muhlyssa Sep 27, 2001 01:38 AM

            Just arrived home from Roy's in Rancho Mirage. Had one of the better meals we've had in the area....we've been to every upscale restaurant in the desert and this was as good or better then most. Be prepared for the high noise level but if you are not a senior you'll probably love it. Only open five days but jam packed. Call for reservation.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Paul
              Muhlyssa RE: Paul Sep 27, 2001 08:56 AM

              Thanks. I've made the reservation already. Can you tell me a little bit about the price range and dress code?

            2. m
              Mike Kilgore RE: Muhlyssa Sep 27, 2001 10:43 AM

              We actually ate at the original 385 North restaurant a couple of times in the early 80's. I always thought that Roy would be a star based on that experience. Everytime we are in Hawaii I keep meaning to get to his place. Speaking of the 385 North La Cienega location, if I am not mistaken wasn't that the old Islander restaurant locale? If so, it was the site of many a high school pre-prom dinner. Does anyone remember it?

              1. b
                Bob S II RE: Muhlyssa Sep 27, 2001 11:35 AM

                ...In the very early 80's there was a restaurant built into the hillside facing city lights where The House Of Blues is now in West Hollywood...

                called ROY'S. Somewhat asian tilt to the food; huge hangout for the club/music scene of the then Sunset Strip. Anyone know if it was the same Roy ?

                5 Replies
                1. re: Bob S II
                  brian RE: Bob S II Sep 28, 2001 01:11 PM

                  Most definitely NOT the same Roy. This one was Roy Silver, I believe, in the music business. The place had horrible Chinese food, and was famous for claiming that you needed a reservation to sit at the bar (and watch a lot of coke being consumed).

                  1. re: brian
                    Bob S II RE: brian Sep 28, 2001 06:46 PM

                    I was new to L.A. and, if you can believe this, wanted the view. Couldn't believe what was going on around me and my memory is that the food was not good. My take back then was that most of what was called food in L.A. was just ordinary.

                    La Brea Bakery, Patina - they were all yet to come. Scandia was a big deal as was Matteo's. Think Michael's in Santa Monica arrived early 80's.

                    Thanks for the info.

                    1. re: Bob S II
                      Jim Leff RE: Bob S II Sep 28, 2001 07:03 PM

                      sorry to be a pain....please pick subject titles you yourself would like to see when deciding what to read. Titles like "Question.." and "That's the Place!" aren't helpful to your fellow hounds!

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                      Sorry to be popping up more frequently with these issues today, but we're about to get blitzed with new people, and I'm hoping we can set them a good example re: threadsmanship!


                      1. re: Jim Leff
                        Griller141 RE: Jim Leff Sep 28, 2001 11:40 PM

                        I, for one, like responsive titles. 72 posts that all say, "My favorite Albanian" - while the actual topic evolves - are tedious and usually, after the 25th or so, misleading. I suggest you encourage more descriptive response titles in order to make browsing more efficient and fun.

                        1. re: Griller141
                          Jim Leff RE: Griller141 Sep 28, 2001 11:56 PM


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