As I prepare the end of another gastronomically blessed year, I created a list of some of the most memorable dining experiences of 2008. I dined in, as well as out, a lot this year and while most experiences were delightful, some were simply extraordinary – and they deserve a little mention here.
My first kudo goes to Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisines in Woodland Hills for the Best Customer Service award. In today’s often pretentious restaurant scene where the great customer service is becoming a lost art, the expert advice are handed out like a complementary bowl of edamame here at Roy’s, and they come with a dash of smile and a sprinkle of humor 🙂
I usually like to avoid expensive chain restaurants because most of those places turn out to be a disappointment, but Roy’s is something else. Although there are multiple locations across the country (and at least three that I know of in the greater Los Angeles area in Downtown LA, Pasadena and Woodland Hills), each Roy’s restaurant has its unique specialties only available at that location. Some of the signature dishes like the Roasted Macademia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi are available in all Roy’s restaurants (under Roy’s Classic), but you can enjoy unique menus prepared by the local chefs, which makes you want to visit all locations! All executive chefs are trained by the founder Roy Yamaguchi himself to ensure that each dish represent his Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine philosophy – of utilizing the flavors of Japan and Hawaii while incorporating European cooking techniques.
My last Roy’s outing was in the summer, when we took my mother out for her birthday. It was my second time dining here but was the first for my parents, as well as my sister, and they fell in love with the friendly, tropical atmosphere of the restaurant instantly. When we were seated, we were greeted by an energetic service staff, who was so helpful with us deciding on a bottle of red wine to start. After a few minutes, we decided on a bottle of Pinot Noir from Erath Oregon that was very warm and light, and went perfectly with all the dishes we ended up ordering. I wish I had his name because he was extremely knowledgeable, charming and helpful and made our dining experience one of the most memorable in a very long time. We could just listen to the way he explained the menu for hours and salivate every time he talked about the braised ribs or a chocolate soufflé for dessert! And let me tell you, its world famous soufflé is simply unbelievable.
For appetizer, we shared a plate of Maryland Style Crab Cake (Li Hing and Spicy Sesame Beurre Blanc, $15.50) and my favorite, Hawaii “Style” Ahi Poke (Fresh Avocado and White Truffle Inamona Jus, $12.50), pictured above.
For main courses, we ordered:
Tender Braised Hawaii Kai Beef Short Ribs and Natural Braising Sauce. This was only available as one of the selections on Seasonal Fusion Prix Fixe Menu, but it can be made into an entrée at request, which is what I did here.
Grilled 8oz Filet Mignon with Crispy Pancetta Bordelaise Sauce & Sour Cream Chive Mashed Potatoes ($31.95) for mother.
Roys’ Classic Trio of Hibachi Grilled Salmon, Roy’s Original Blackened Island Ahi & Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish, a sampling of our three Classics in their traditional preparations ($29.95) for my sister.
Shellfish Combo, U-10 Diver Scallops & Dynamite Crusted Tiger Shrimp Spicy Sesame Rayu Butter & Lemon Truffle Nage ($ 29.95) for my father.
Unfortunately, we forgot to save some room for the chocolate soufflé this night, but when you go to Roy’s, make sure that you do order it because it’s going to be one of the best desserts you’ll experience! And make sure that you order it when you order your entrée since it takes a while to bake it.
In addition to the Best Service award, this place deserves the “chain-restaurant-that-definitely-does-not-suck” kudos. Food here, is definitely fusion, and not confusion.
Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine
6363 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91367