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Jun 4, 2008 10:33 AM

Follow-up: Roy's in Chandler, AZ (Phoenix)

Hi all,

As the "wonderful husband" being referred to in this thread from yesterday...

...I just wanted to chime in to say that my lovely wife ended up taking me to Roy's in Chandler. I've gone back and forth between being curious about this place and being skeptical... very skeptical. Usually "fusion" carries with it negative connotations, but yesterday must've been the former, because I was anxious to give it a shot! This one was closer than the one up at Desert Ridge (which we hear is the best of the three in town), so we gave it a try.

Easy to find off of Ray (wow, the TGI Friday's there burned down!), we were welcomed and seated immediately. We were brought their seasoned edamame (a little overcooked and dry, but I scarfed 'em down anyway :)) and water (they offer either regular or bottled). We waited a little longer than we would've liked for our server to arrive, but once he did, he was on point throughout the evening. Very friendly, and he steered us right every step of the way.

We ended up getting the calamari appetizer. The chili dipping sauce was a touch on the strong side, but it complemented the calamari nicely, and although some of the pieces were a touch chewy, there was no trace of any "squidiness" (if that's a word) in terms of smell or taste. We cleaned that plate right up.

My wife chose the "quad" Trio, which IIRC consisted of a crusted mahi mahi, glazed butterfish, seared ahi, and marinated salmon. All four were delicious, although we both agreed that the butterfish was the winner. WOW. Absolutely terrific and distinctive flavor... very sweet, buttery, and with no fishiness whatsoever. One of my favorite restaurants in Orange County, CA (Kappo Honda) makes some of the best butterfish I've ever had, and this pretty much trounced it... with authority. :) I think we both could've eaten about a pound of just that. It was *that* good. The ahi was also perfect. No stringiness, smell, or anything. It had a mustardy sauce that at first was like a punch in the face, but mellowed out quickly and let you enjoy the taste and texture of the ahi. Definitely good, good stuff. The mahi mahi and salmon were also a cut above anything else we've had in town over the past year+, but they were a distant third and fourth compared to the butterfish and ahi (my wife ranked the mahi mahi fourth :)).

I had the lump crab rock cod w/ baby bok choi, which came with a cream dynamite sauce w/ mushrooms, onions, and some type of roe. :) Usually crab is pretty weak on dishes like this (such as when it comes on a steak), but even with the rich sauce, the crab tasted delicious. Sweet, perfect texture, and very little water. Rock cod is pretty safe, but a lot of places play it too safe and you end up with a bland piece of fish. They prepared it perfectly here. Again, nothing but great flavor and texture, which mated beautifully with the very tasty sauce and crab. Nice pairing. My plate was empty... noticing a trend here?

Although white wine would've probably paired better, I had some Estancia Pinot Noir (2005), and was extremely happy with it. I'm usually let down by wine no matter where we go, but this was smooth, sweet, and delicious. I'll have to track this down at a local wine shop. I did have a *touch* too much, though, and I'm still feeling its effects right now!

We finished out with their chocolate lava souffle, and that was very good, too. Served a la mode and with a light wild berry sauce, it came out fresh-baked, and with the "lava" oozing out all over once we cracked the outer crust. Once again, plate was clean!

Anyway, we got out of there smack-dab in the middle of our budget (~$130 all in). This is how fish should be done, and although it won't be a weekly excursion due to the cost, we do plan on going back!

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  1. We haven't been to the Scottsdale location also reviewed this week but we stop in at the Chandler Roy's about every two months or so. For the most part it's always been great. I've had a couple menu items that weren't that great(a crab crusted halibut most memorably) but now that we have the menu figured out we're never disappointed. The service is always excellent.

    There's such a dearth of quality seafood restaurants in the Phoenix area to begin, and especially so in this part of town we have no qualms about stopping into Roy's for a bite of butterfish on a fairly regular basis.

    Glad you enjoyed your meal and Congrats on your promotion!

    1. I've found Estancia Pinot for a good price at BevMo just across the way from Roy's at Priest and Ray. Will keep Roy's in mind for special occasions. I hate having to trek to Scottsdale for every b-day/Mother's Day/promotion, etc. Go Chandler!

      1. My wife and I ate at the Roy's in Chandler once. Once was enough. I don't have very good memories of it. I had the meatloaf. It made me nauseous after 4-5 bites. It had this sickly sweet taste.

        6 Replies
        1. re: StuCazzo

          I can't help but think... wouldn't getting meatloaf at Roy's be akin to getting chicken at a steakhouse?

          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

            Well they listed it as a Polynesian (sp) specialty......

            1. re: StuCazzo

              FYI, the Chandler Roy's has a new chef. Not sure when he started, but I'm going to an event this week to sample some stuff. It sounds like ghibli99 had a great meal -- maybe by the new guy? If so, it bodes well.

              1. re: 1wino

                One note, re: Roy's exec. chefs. They have quite a bit of latitude with the interpretation of Roy Yamaguchi's dishes, except for some of the signature ones. The chef can make a real difference, even though Roy's is a mini-chain. Each location can be totally (or almost so) different, and that is a good thing for us.

                How was the noise level at Chandler? That is a big point with us, at some Roy's.


                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  One of the reasons we enjoy Roy's is its always quiet and the pace is always relaxed never rushed.

                  1. re: ziggylu

                    I only wish that was true of many of the restaurants in the Roy's group.

                    I do feel that the Mainland establishments are quieter, than those throughout Hawai`i. Not sure of all, as a few are new, and also times may have changed, but Hawai`i Kai, both Maui restaurants and Waikoloa, are all above my tolerance level. The noise level at Poipu (Kaua`i) was easily heard from the street, though we have never dined there.

                    In PHX, the old Esplanade was quiet, and so has been Scottsdale. We just dined at the Desert Ridge location, and even with the potential for noise from the pool and lawn area, found it very quiet - and a blessing.


        2. You are better folk, than we. No way were we even thinking about dessert at the Desert Ridge iteration of Roy's.

          I did not know of this location, but then we're in N. Phoenix, so Chandler/Gilbert is far from us.

          Wife had the butterfish entée and it was great - better than my beloved opakapaka entée.

          Thanks for the review. Next time down that way, we'll have to give it a try. Seems there is a golf tournament in that neighborhood, that we need to play in. I know where we'll dine!


          1. Glad to hear you had a nice meal there, as I was thinking about going there this Sunday for my birthday. That butterfish sounds divine and if we go, I'm definitely getting that!

            What is the dress attire there? I'm one of those people that ALWAYS worries about being under/overdressed.

            2 Replies
            1. re: PHX Becky

              We were there last weekend for the butterfish:) As most places in AZ, there was a wide range of some in shorts and polos, and some in slacks and dress shirts. I'd say resort casual overall though. My husband loves the szechuan baby back ribs appetizer, if you have any grilled meat fans in your party, I'd reccommend that as well.

              1. re: yamalam

                I had the opportunity to dine at Roy's two locations last week. I had two sushi rolls- the Waimea (soft-shelled crab tempura) and the fresh and tasty Aloha (tuna, salmon, yellowfin) in Scottsdale, and the butterfish in Ahwatukee. I suffer from food allergies, so after a lengthy discussion with Ruben, an "executive chef partner" in Ahwatukee, I settled with the tried-but-true butterfish. Along with bok choy, wasabi butter sauce, and black Thai rice, my dinner was exquisite!

                I also tried the ribs and beef satay on previous visits. I was disappointed that I was served with dry and overcooked skewers of beef, but they were promptly replaced with fresh ones when I brought the old ones to the chef's attention.

                If you like martinis, particularly sweet ones, the Hawaiian Martini is sublime, with fresh pineapple and coconut rum. I found the chocolate martini to be too sweet... I never thought I'd see the day I would say such a statement about anything with reference to chocolate!

                As for desserts, the chocolate lava cake is fool-proof. The pumpkin cheesecake served in the fall is pretty good, too. Has anyone tried the strawberry shortcake served now?