Monday, January 16, 2006

An Invitation to Taste Paradise
that's "better than sex" ... Roy's, Downtown LA

Look what came in the mail for me the other day:

An invitation to paradise...

All I have to do is eat at Roy's within the next month or so, spend $75 or more - easily done with 2-4 people, and I get a *FREE* copy of Roy Yamaguchi's new cookbook, Fish and Seafood.

Oh yes, please! Take me now!

The first time I went to Roy's Restaurant was back in the 1990s when I was still in high school. I flew out to Hawaii with my Auntie M and some good family friends of hers. There was me, my Auntie M's, Auntie Ann, Auntie Irene, and EM. Lucky for me, we stayed in Kapulua in our own little villa and had our own private beach! And on one evening, we all went to eat at Roy's Hawaiian fusion restaurant.

That was definitely a night and a dinner I will never forget. Really though, I don't remember much of the dinner except it being super delicious. What I DO remember is having the best ever, "better than sex" Chocolate Souffle! I wasn't even 18 when my Aunties made this comment. And it was this innocent, or maybe not so innocent, remark that would be with me, even after 10 years. Of course, I had no idea what they were talking about, being that I wasn't of age at the time...but knew right when I took one rich spoonful in my mouth that there was something more to food. Sensations of complete and utter satisfaction filled my tastebuds, and all I could do was close my eyes, roll them back in my head, smile with each bite, and pure ecstasy.

I've been lucky to have this souffle again and again at a few different Roy's Restaurants. From Maui to the Big Island and now, right down the street - in Downtown LA!

I knew Roy's was coming to the city before it opened and emailed one of the managing partners about my excitement of their opening. We exchanged a couple brief emails, and I learned that we both hail from the Big Island. (OK - so I'm not really from there, but my Dad's side of the family is so I think that counts.) And I also learned that the new restaurant would be located in a building that's owned by the company my Mom works for! She even got to have lunch on their Grand Opening. Lucky her!

So when my girlfriend wanted to try this new restaurant for her birthday, I made a call to Mom. Even with a pretty full reservation list, she was able to get us a table for 6 after work. (Thanks Mom!) We got there at around 6:30pm, and the place was already packed and full of energy from young 20-30 year old professionals who work in Downtown. There were bright colors and dimmed lighting in this open space, and I could tell that this Roy's had a much different vibe than the two I had been to before. This Roy's was young, loud, and definitely a trend setter.

We started with drinks and ordered the Roy's Canoe Appetizer with deliciously grilled Shrimp Sticks with Szechuan Baby Back Ribs underneath [top left] - my favorite appetizers of the night; Island Ahi Poke [top right], Pork & Shrimp Lumpia, Edamame, & Crisped Seafood Potstickers. We also ordered the Yellow Fin Ahi Poketini made with Wasabi Aioli, Avocado and Tobiko Caviar [bottom left] - my least favorite of the night. Garlicky and salty, this tuna didn't seem all that fresh and was a lighter pale pink than normal. Then came the dishes! Someone ordered the Hibachi Style Grilled Salmon with Japanese Vegetables and Citrus Ponzu Sauce [bottom right] while the birthday girl and I had the Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish Sizzling Soy Vinaigrette.

The butterfish was absolutely delicious! Buttery and delicate, the fish just melted in my mouth with just the right hint of shoyu and miso. Atop a bed of rice with furikaki, this dish is one I'd go back for over and over again...that is, as long as I can order my chocolate souffle (which you've got to do at the beginning of the meal)!

Dinner with drinks, dessert, appetizers, and tip for 6 (minus 1 - the birthday girl) came out to be about $40-45/person. Parking's a pain in the okole in Downtown but we were able to score some metered parking on Fig. Call ahead for reservations. And watch out for the waiters! They fold your napkins when you leave the table to go to the bathroom and they scoop up your crumbs off the table too! What GREAT service! But then again, you better have some GREAT service and GREAT food for the money you spend here! Roy's has it all, and I can't wait to go back in the next month, have some chocolate souffle, and get my *free* cookbook!

Roy's Restaurant - Los Angeles
Street: 800 S. Figueroa Street. Los Angeles, CA 90017
T: 1.213.488.4994


Brian said...

i guess i'm a bit of a detective. haha.

Eddie Lin said...


i've always wondered if this place was cheesy/gimmicky or actually worth going to. sounds divine. congratulations on the free cookbook. see all the perks that come with being a big time food writer! ;-)

Kirk said...

Hi Kristy - So did you enjoy yourself???? LOL! I used to go to the original Roy's in Hawaii Kai, and always thought the food was well prepared and most of all, the quality of the ingredients were good. Wow, and you "scored" a free cookbook....

BoLA said...

Hey Brian! You are *so* the detective! You figured out who DT is, didn't ya?! =)

Hey Eddie! Hope the gift ideas worked out - were they too cheese? Anywho, I loved all my times at Roy's. Granted, it's only three now. But's one I'd go back to again! No big time food writer here...just little old me. =)

Hey Kirk! Yes, very much so. Thank you. Mmm...I so miss Hawaii. I have a friend who's going at the end of this month who *was* supposed to take me too, but oh well...such is life.

Siel said...

I'm starving! We'll have to do happy hour again soon --

Xericx said...

I went to the one in Rancho Mirage, didn't like it. Although I DID order the steak....but the appetizers were seafood and I didn't dig (I also took samples from the others in my party).

Good Pineapple martini..

Cyndi said...

I have been LOVING your blog--now I need to ask if you have time to make a recommendation--a good restaurant near LAX--say Venice, Marina del Rey. I'm going there next weekend and want to try something different. I go there 4 times a year. French? American? Not sushi or Chinese. Ideas? Thanks. If you have time, leave a note on my blog for me.

BBQ Junkie said...

roy's service is amazing... and i agree with xericx, those pinapple martinis are to die for. oh-so-tasty.

elmomonster said...

That looks just awesome. I'm wary of these fusion places, but when it's done right, it's the best. Thanks for the review!

BoLA said...

Hi Siel! Happy Monday! Let's definitely do HH again soon! What about lunch??

Hi xericx! Yeah, I had a pineapple martini, and boy...was it STRONG! ;)

Hi Cyndi! Thanks for stopping by! Hope you find a good place to eat and do share where you end up going! =)

Hi BBQJunkie! Yes...oh-so-tasty indeed! And I love eating the slice of pineapple that comes with it too!

Hi Elmomonster! Yes...when done right, it's so good! Definitely try the souffle! ;)

BoLA said...

Hi Siel! Happy Monday! Let's definitely do HH again soon! What about lunch??

Hi xericx! Yeah, I had a pineapple martini, and boy...was it STRONG! ;)

Hi Cyndi! Thanks for stopping by! Hope you find a good place to eat and do share where you end up going! =)

Hi BBQJunkie! Yes...oh-so-tasty indeed! And I love eating the slice of pineapple that comes with it too!

Hi Elmomonster! Yes...when done right, it's so good! Definitely try the souffle! ;)

Cyndi said...

Right now I'm leaning towards Chart House because I love their scallops--but I've been to Chart House, at least in Palm Desert, and maybe I'll try James Beach. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

hey girl, its kary. love roys! didnt like the one in hawaii kai so much as the one in orange county. but the executive chef at the la one is my homeboys brother. =)

BoLA said...

Hey Cyndi! Glad you enjoyed James' Beach and that you stopped by again!

KARY! YOUR HOMEBOY'S BROTHER'S THE EXEC CHEF AT ROY'S?!!! :D Let's GO visit him soon!!! Hit me up when you wanna go.

Anonymous said...

I love Roys. I've been to ones in Naples, FL, Bonita Springs, FL, Orlando, FL, and downtown LA and they all are consistently great! The service is always amazing, they have a good wine list, good drinks, amazing dishes, sushi, deserts... it's one of my favorite places to go out to dinner.

my blog:


Anonymous said...

Tried to use their web site for a gift card. It would not take the credit crad information and said try again. After 11 attempts and 3 credit cards I quit. Checked on line and all 11 charges went thru. Their rep claims they have this problem all the time and I now have her calling all 3 credit card companies to reverse the charges. What a game!!!

David said...

Chart House on Pacific Coast Highway LA, CA

I had lunch at the Chart House yesterday with 4 friends for the worst restaurant experience of my life. The waiter although pleasant had trouble remembering what we ordered and took 45 min to bring a cappuccino and that was after I left the table and cornered him at the bar to retrieve it. When the food finally arrived, after waiting 1.5 hours, it was at best very disappointing. The King Crab was the smallest I’ve seen and at $35 the portion was appetizer size. A non-fish eating member of the party ordered the Filet medium rare and it arrived well done and cold. The Shrimp stuffed with Crab must have come out of a Captain D’s box from Ralph’s as it was deep fried and hiding out in a soggy heavy bread “overcoat.”

After paying $275 for 2 hours of gastronomic torture I spoke with the manager, not for a refund, but to share the “experience.” The “manager” apologized and calling on the deepest reserve of his reasoning wisdom explained that he couldn’t go back in time and change our Chart House encounter. Well “golly gee” thanks for pointing that out…and silly me, I thought he could pull a magic wand out of his butt and make things right!!

If you are still thinking about going to this “dinner by the sea”, go for the view from the parking lot and brownbag a Tuna Fish sandwich. Trust me, it will be a far more enjoyable experience!!
DMD 3/10/07

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