Thursday, September 27, 2007

Roy's - LA

Set in a cozy little space, Roy’s LA seems amiss among the sprawling skyscrapers and bustling busy streets. But step inside and you are suddenly whisked away to a different world, a modern tropical paradise that I immediately associate with Hawaii. Vibrant colors adorn the wall, with both modern and some traditional decorations sprinkled throughout the restaurant. Stalks of bamboo line the outer edge of the dining room, while three huge Plumeria art pieces line the wall above the open kitchen, like playful warriors standing guard over the cooks.

The open kitchen is a form of entertainment in itself. While each line cook and sous chef has their own responsibility they also work with precise choreography, producing each dish to come together with perfect timing. Curtis Mar, Executive Chef, is the conductor of the kitchen, making sure each dish goes out on time and more importantly, meeting his discerning standards.

After being seated and getting settled in, a bowl of edamame was placed upon the table. The edamame were seasoned with Alaea red salt and just a whispery hint of something sweet. While not overly sweet, it did give the soybeans an added dimension.

The Grilled Hawaiian Satay Skewers are a mix of chicken, beef, eggplant and shrimp each with a different seasoning. The Curried Chicken Satay is tender and moist with a nice curry spice; it reminded me of a cross between an Indonesian and Indian dish. The peanut sauce helps to cut through the pungency of the curry. The Mongolian Beef skewer is very tender and flavorful. The concentrated soy glaze enhances the beef flavor. The Miso Eggplant satay is a nicely grilled slice of eggplant with a miso glaze that is both sweet and salty. The eggplant is slightly wilted but still retains a nice meaty texture. The Shrimp skewer contains two meaty shrimp that is paired with a wasabi dipping sauce provides a spicy kick to the sweet shrimp.

The Roasted Baby Beet Salad is of the deconstructed type. Baby Bibb lettuce with a acidic balsamic vinegarette sits on one side of the plate, while roasted red and yellow baby beets provide contrast on the other side. Balsamic vinegar cuts through the richness of the blue cheese ranch dressing. An oozing block of blue cheese finishes the salad off.

A Lychee Sorbet is served as an intermezzo. The sorbet is light but is rather sweet. Although there is a hint of lemon in the sorbet it tastes like a light dessert instead of a palate cleanser.

The “Pulehu” Style Hawaiian Barbecued Sirloin is a very generous serving of sliced sirloin cooked to a perfect medium rare. The steak is glazed in a sake reduction and a green peppercorn sauce. The sweetness of the sake provides a nice contrast to the spiciness of the green peppercorns. The dish is served with a small stack of perfectly fried crunchy onion rings and potatoes au gratin. The onion rings are so crunchy that each bite reverberates inside of your skull like you were at a heavy metal concert. The potatoes au gratin are so rich, creamy and cheesy that a crash cart should be close at hand.

The signature Roy’s Hot Melting Chocolate Souffle is a rich dark chocolate flourless chocolate cake with a molten hot center. Breaking into the soufflé releases the sweet thick magma of dark chocolate within. The luscious soufflé is served a la mode with a scoop of vanilla ice cream that provides a nice temperature contrast as well as a raspberry coulis which helps to cut through the richness of the chocolate.

Although Roy describes his food as being Asian Fusion to make it more appealing to the masses, this is really Hawaii Regional Cuisine at its finest.

800 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 488-4994


Veronica said...

I really loved this place, but I think Alan Wong's and Chef Mavro's was a little bit better. Would have been nice to eat and sing with Roy when we were in Honolulu. Well, there's always a next time ;o)

Vegasbuff said...


Yes, Roy's was better than I expected. I do agree with you in that I liked Alan Wong's better as well. Karaoke with Roy would have been fun though.

Chubbypanda said...

Deconstructed salads never appealed to me. You seem to get fewer veggies, then have to put everything together yourself. Plus, the proportion of ingredients often seems off. More veggies for this panda.

Vegasbuff said...


You're right. With the salad ingredients on the opposite end of a long rectangular plate, trying to mix them together was an exercise in futility.