Jump to content

Roy's Hawaiian Fusion, A Honolulu-Based Chain in Harbor East


Recommended Posts

Roy's proved to be a perfect spot for a surprise birthday dinner we attended last night. We were obviously not the only people who thought so, as there were numerous birthdays being observed during the time we were there. I had not heard of the restaurant before this, but the host and guest of honor had eaten at other locations and wanted to try the Baltimore one. Seeing how many locations there are, I'm wondering why I'd never heard of it before blink.gif.

From the moment we arrived at the valet stand outside, service was pleasant, attentive, and overall quite good. It took a little while for our table to be ready, but that ended up playing into the surprise element in an amusing way. Before we left, our server took a group photo and presented it to the guest of honor in a frame.

Our server had to shout to our table to be heard over the din in the dining room, as did other servers at nearby tables. It was very loud, but that was the biggest downside of the experience. Despite our being a table of 10, no food or drink (over three courses and several rounds of beverages) was auctioned off. Maybe the bar has been set too low, but I was impressed biggrin.gif. It certainly speaks well for the level of training employed by the chain and this particular restaurant. Dishes for each course did not come out all at once, but several at a time, though the gap between deliveries was quite short. Additionally, the guest of honor changed seats after the main course, and her dessert, with candle, was delivered to her (by a manager, I think) at her new spot with no hesitation.

The food was pretty good but expensive. Judging from how much everyone ate, I'm going to conclude a general level of satisfaction. I can't speak to many specifics except for what I ate, but there were a couple of comments about the macadamia-crusted mahi mahi being a bit dry, and the sashimi platter arrived without the expected pickled ginger.

My husband and I split the Aloha Roll (spicy tuna roll topped with hamachi, salmon, and avocado), which is one of their signature items. At 8 pieces, it was a good amount of sushi to start the meal. Others ordered the Baha Roll (hamachi topped with tuna and jalapeno pesto), which is one of the Baltimore location's own offerings. The server sold the table on the canoe appetizer, another one of the signature items (Szechuan pork ribs, blackened ahi, sesame shrimp, spicy tempura salmon roll and kobe beef lumpia). Given the number of people in our party, we probably would have ordered it even if he hadn't suggested it, though. The ribs were very good, with a nice depth of flavor. The lumpia was also tasty, while the shrimp seemed a bit lackluster. I enjoyed the hibachi style salmon with ponzu sauce I got as a main (served with a salad of cucumber and radish with a vinagery dressing and plain white rice), though I couldn't finish it. Cooked medium, as suggested, the salmon was moist and flaky.

Almost everyone ordered their signature Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle except my husband and me (he got the cranberry mandarin orange cobbler and I passed on dessert; I prefer to frontload my calories wink.gif). Everyone seemed quite satisfied with the chocolate dessert, and I think my husband wishes he had ordered it.

We sat at the table for a good long time after paying, and this seems to be the kind of restaurant where that is not a problem, making it another plus for this type of occasion. (Many of the people hadn't seen each other in a long time.)

The food was better than average for chain cuisine. Other than the noise level, the atmosphere and service were perfectly fine. I don't know that I would walk in off the street for a meal here, but I'd certainly go with a group again, even with the high price tag. (I don't know how many walk-ins they can accommodate. There was quite a wait on a Saturday night"”one fairly large walk-in group was told the wait time was two hours. There were a couple of bars for dining, as well.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HUGE fan of roy's. first visited a roy's in kauai, then in arizona. was thrilled to find one in baltimore.

best bets (IMHO): lobster potstickers, short ribs, the melting chocolate souffle dessert (lava cake). i don't like fish but my dining companions have enjoyed it at roy's. i vote that you stay away from the shrimp, in whatever cloak it has. if it's overcooked and too chewy (like the last 3 times i got it -- yep, i tried it three times), no sauce can make up for it. the chicken dish, usually a throwaway in most comparable restaurants, is pretty good, too.

bring your wallet please! unlike charleston (another favorite of mine, not far from roy's), you may not spend most of your money on food but on drinks. i say that b/c i usually get the prix fixe. it's well-priced considering what you get -- i'm either too full to eat the dessert or i deliberately save some of the entree so i can eat the dessert. so food money goes to the drinks, which are sublime, but they add up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we were at Roy's on Saturday night, the couple next to us tried to use a gift card from the same group that does Bonefish, etc.  They were told the restaurant split from that group about a year ago so unfortunately their gift card was no longer valid at Roy's.  Perhaps this change in ownership caused the VASTLY different experience we had at this restaurant versus those above (and to be fair, it has been six years since this thread had activity).

Even on the weekend after New Years, Roy's was busy at 7pm on Saturday night - more in the bar area than in the dining room.  Service was a bit slow, but there were two large group tables in the restaurant that night and our waitress had both of them (in addition to our 2 top) so I couldn't fault the waitress, who seemed to really be trying to keep up.  My visibly pregnant wife is usually fine with a water or iced tea, but seeing how many tiki-themed drinks they had on the menu using different juices, I encouraged her to live wild and order a mocktail.  "A mocktail?" says the waitress, after my wife asks if the bartender could make her something creative.  "Oh, you mean like orange and grapefruit juice?"  The creative sort of got lost in translation.

But moving on.  Started out with a vegetable sushi roll, which was quite good.  Seeing other sushi plates come out as well, sushi may not be a bad way to go here.  The wife got the crab fried rice and the vadouvan carrot soup together as her entree (prices unavailable as they were on the special menu that evening).  After waiting quite some time for our food (and longer for a refill of my drink), we both agreed the Vadouvan soup had excellent flavor, it just wasn't warm.  Not warm in the, this is supposed to be a chilled soup, way.  Just not warm.  The crab fried rice was quite sweet and had a consistency of a rice dish made the day prior.

My shellfish sampler ($44) came with a lobster tail, crab cake and about five of the Teppanyaki shrimp.  There is overcooked seafood, and there is 'please for the love of God stop cooking it, it's already dead' overcooked seafood - this was the latter.  I honestly don't know that I could have identified the shrimp OR the lobster if it didn't come with the shell.  The crab cake was your run-of-the-mill, not great, chain restaurant crab cake that was too sweet.  We passed on dessert.  One tiki drink, one glass of juice, one beer, and the food mentioned above was $120 with tax and tip.  An expensive disappointment.

Not to pile on, but the woman at the table next to us ordered the short rib.  Husband: "Are you going to take that home?"  Wife: "Why bother, I didn't like it enough to finish even half of it here."

If someone forces you to go to Roy's, beg to sit at the bar.  Order a tiki drink and a sushi appetizer.  Then go to the B&O Brasserie at the Hotel Monaco, where I had a fantastic cheese pizza (also don't miss the banana pudding) 2 hours after leaving Roy's, along with most of my uneaten entree.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we were at Roy's on Saturday night, the couple next to us tried to use a gift card from the same group that does Bonefish, etc.  They were told the restaurant split from that group about a year ago so unfortunately their gift card was no longer valid at Roy's.  Perhaps this change in ownership caused the VASTLY different experience we had at this restaurant versus those above (and to be fair, it has been six years since this thread had activity).

...

If someone forces you to go to Roy's, beg to sit at the bar.  Order a tiki drink and a sushi appetizer.  Then go to the B&O Brasserie at the Hotel Monaco, where I had a fantastic cheese pizza (also don't miss the banana pudding) 2 hours after leaving Roy's, along with most of my uneaten entree.

All Roy's restaurants east of California were operated by Bloomin' Brands, Inc. (yes, Outback Steakhouse, Carraba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, etc.). Then, just when you think it can't get any worse, in Dec, 2014, they were sold to United Ohana LLC (yes, the franchisee of *Applebee's*). I would not go here expecting to see Roy Yamaguchi, but let me tell you something - I had dinner at Roy's Place in Hawaii back when he only owned *two* restaurants. I went to the "second" restaurant (I can't remember if it was on Maui or Oahu), and I was distinctly unimpressed, and this was over twenty years ago.

I wish I ranked Baltimore restaurants like I do in DC so I could rank Roy's last in Harbor East.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we were at Roy's on Saturday night, ...

Wow, we probably walked right past you, outside the restaurant. Had pizza around the corner at Bagby Pizza and were walking back to the Marriott. Actually looked into the restaurant to see who was eating there as I too was surprised at how busy it was. To echo Don's comment, we also ate at Roy's in Hawaii several years ago and were not impressed. Would have been happier getting ramen instead that night.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...