Roy Yamaguchi opened his first restaurant in Honolulu in 1988. Born in Tokyo, Japan, the master chef graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and invented the trend of “Hawaiian Fusion” cuisine. Today, his restaurants reach the mainland (and even as far as Guam).
While I haven’t been to Hawaii since 1997, I fondly remember touring Waikiki Beach and other landmarks from the Aloha State. On a recent trip to Baltimore, I stopped by Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion in the Inner Harbor district, and enjoyed a quick trip to the islands.
My dining companions and I started our meal off with an appetizer of Crispy Kung Pao-style calamari with curry slaw.
Roy’s does a “prix fixe menu” for $35.95 and uses flavors of the season. I tried the fall version that included your choice of appetizer, main entree and dessert. The Fuji Apple Salad with almonds, curry puree and sherry bourbon vinaigrette started off the autumn trio.
My second course for the prix fixe menu was the Brown Butter Seared Salmon, served with maple cranberry sausage, warm potato salad and stone ground mustard.
My third – and final course – was a dessert of Harvest Spice Cake with white chocolate pumpkin mousse and cranberry sauce.
We also opted to try one of the signature desserts – Pineapple Upside Down Cake. This dessert requires some extra time so you need to know in advance if you’re ordering it but you’ll get coaxed by the waitstaff.
While the meal was good, there were some hiccups. One of my dining companions, who is a vegetarian, ordered the veggie pad thai. It seemed to have been prepared much before the group’s other dishes and lacked any real flavor. Another diner ordered the sushi and sashimi – ranging in price from $9.95 to $16.95. We were seated in a smaller room off the main dining room, which was much quieter and more inviting.
You can learn more about Roy Yamaguchi and his restaurants online at www.roysrestaurant.com.