Roy's Restaurant - Orlando, Florida

7760 West Sand Lake Rd Orlando, Florida 32819
Tel. 407-352-4844
Reviewed by Tasters Guild Orlando

Roy's Orlando: The evening we dined at Roy’s our servers were Jsun and James.

They promptly greeted the table with a toast of Perrier-Jouët and offered a brief description of the menu and their personal recommendations for the evening.

We started the evening with a bottle of Roy’s Euro-Asian Riesling which is bottled for them by Pfeffinfen Estate in Germany. This Pfalz Qualitatswein is riper and has a fuller body than most Riesling, with juicy apple, grapefruit, lime, dried apricot and mineral on the nose and palate. Its zesty finish has a touch of sweetness. This is a great summer wine that is fresh and fruity, but not too sweet. The bad news is you will not find this wine at your local wine shop as it is a proprietary blend for Roy’s Restaurants. The good news is you have a great excuse to go to Roy’s!

Our Ohana Appetizers (Part of Hawaiian culture, ohana means family in an extended sense of the term including both blood-related or extended. It emphasizes that family and friends are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another.) for the evening were Island Style Ahi Poke Salad, Teriyaki Glazed Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast and Yuzu Scented Crispy Calamari.

Island Style Ahi Poke Salad with Sticky Rice, Truffled Soy and Inamona Jus ($13). Poke (pronounced "po-keh") means to slice or cut and usually refers to sushi grade fish, in this case Ahi (Yellowfin Tuna). The seasoning for this was the truffled soy and Inamona Jus: Inamona is a condiment used in Hawaiian cooking made from roasted kukui nuts (candlenuts) and sea salt. This was a beautiful presentation with the red from the Ahi, green from the salad over the deep, rich color of the Truffled Soy and Inamona Jus.

Teriyaki Glazed Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast, with a Chinese Black Bean Dragon Sauce ($9). Most Maple Leaf Farms ducks are raised on small family farms, many of which are Amish or Mennonite and was the first duck company in North America to implement a comprehensive set of duck care guidelines and a certification program for staff and growers. The Chinese Black Bean Dragon Sauce is citrus, ginger, soy mustard and cilantro with Chinese black beans and sweet Thai chili sauce. The sliced, medium rare, duck was served over the Dragon Sauce. The sweetness of this appetizer went perfectly with the Riesling.

Yuzu Scented Crispy Calamari, Roasted Pablano Remoulade, Chipotle Lime Dipping Sauce ($9). Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit which about the size of a tangerine and is quite sour. The Pablano Pepper is a mild to medium heat with a flavor very much like a bell pepper, for the kick there is the Chipotle (smoked jalapeno chili peppers).

With dinner we had a 2001 Au Bon Climat (ABC) Pinot Noir. Displaying more of a berry cast than one normally sees in Pinot, this outgoing effort smells of strawberries with background of black cherries, bacon and dried brush. Somewhat supple and velvety in feel, it tastes of ripe, fairly deep fruit before finding puckery tannins in the finish.

We had Roy’s Classic Roasted Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi-mahi; Tempura Crisped Deep Sea Scallops; Prosciutto Wrapped Long Line Ono; and Rustic Rubbed Wood Fired Filet Mignon & Tuna Steak.

Roy’s Classic Roasted Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi-Mahi with a Main Lobster Butter Sauce ($28). Mahi-Mahi (meaning “Strong-Strong” in Hawaiian), also known as Dolphin (fish, not the mammal) or Dorado, has a sweet, mildly pronounced flavor similar to swordfish. The lean meat is fairly firm in texture, though not steak-like, and it has large, moist flakes. This was Jsun’s recommendation for me and it was an excellent choice.

Tempura Crisped Deep Sea Scallops, Garlic & Chive Chirashi Rice, and Daikon Chile Ponzu ($26). When this first came out we thought it looked like a corn dog, but when you cut into the scallops they were prepared perfectly.

Prosciutto Wrapped Long Line Ono- Valencia Oranges, Gorgonzola Blue Crab Tortellini, and Lemon Soy Reduction ($26). Ono is Hawaiian for “Delicious” and another name for a fish called Wahoo. Both Jsun and James highly recommended this dish. Because these fish are loners they are taken as a by catch in the long line fishery for Tuna and Mahi-Mahi. The meat is dense and rather like a tenderloin with a light flavor which is intensified by the Prosciutto wrapped around it.

Rustic Rubbed Wood Fired Filet Mignon & Teppanyaki Seared Tuna Steak with White Chocolate Gorgonzola Cream ($38). Rubbed with their own special blend of herbs and spices and the wood fired the Filet Mignon melts in your mouth. The sweetness from the white chocolate and the tanginess of the gorgonzola makes the taste buds sing.

By this point I didn’t think we would be able to eat another thing, but we had to have dessert! We ordered Roy's Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé, Roy’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake and a Trio of Crème Brûlée. If you are a chocolaholic, then Roy’s Chocolate Soufflé is for you. It is absolutely sinful! To learn how to make this for yourself see the Featured Chef section for Chef Ryan Leto’s recipe. The Trio of Crème Brûlée was Lemon Ginger, Light & Dark Chocolate and Traditional Vanilla.

We had an excellent time, as always, at Roy’s and enjoyed the famous “aloha” style of service – straight from the heart with a sense of caring and individuality – they achieved Roy’s mission and totally pleased and indulged our entire party!

Among the outstanding items to choose include:

I know what I am having on my next visit to Roy’s!

Roy’s was first introduced in Honolulu, Hawaii by internationally acclaimed Chef Roy Yamaguchi in 1988, and since that time has become well known throughout the world for its exciting and innovative cuisine, cutting-edge wine list, and “aloha” style of service.

Roy Yamaguchi holds the distinction of earning Hawaii's first prestigious James Beard Award. His first restaurant in East Honolulu was dubbed the "crown jewel of Hawaii's east-west eateries" by Food & Wine, and has been the subject matter of cover stories for both Bon Appetit and Forbes (a rare appearance for a chef) magazines. Among many other distinguished accolades Roy’s has been named to the "Top 50" in Conde Nast Traveler, the "Gault-Millau Top 40" in Forbes FYI, and "Fine Dining Hall of Fame" and "Golden Chain" by Nation's Restaurant News.

Based on childhood memories of the feelings and flavors of Hawaii, Roy invented what he refers to as his “Hawaiian Fusion” cuisine – a tempting combination of exotic flavors and spices mixed with the freshest of local ingredients. At Roy’s, the menu is changed daily, guided by the Chef Partner Ryan Leto’s sense of freedom and freshness, utilizing the best local ingredients he can find. Among the restaurant’s famed signature culinary creations are Teriyaki Hibachi Grilled Atlantic Salmon; Szechwan Spiced BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs; and Roy’s “Original” Blackened Island Ahi. A wide selection of artistically created desserts offered nightly includes the popular Chocolate Soufflé.

In addition to his restaurant enterprises, Chef Roy Yamaguchi appears as Host of Hawaii Cooks with Roy Yamaguchi seen nationally on the Public Broadcast System. He is author of Roy's Feasts from Hawaii published by Ten Speed Press. Most recently, Yamaguchi was involved with the UPN network in the taping of “Iron Chef USA: Showdown in Las Vegas” as the Iron Chef Asia (one of four renowned chefs featured).

Like Roy’s menus, the wine list selections are globally sourced, chosen strictly by textural harmony with the restaurant’s food, genuine flavor and originality. The restaurant’s leading wine lists have received numerous national awards for their quality, value and sensible approach to harmoniously pairing wine with food. As stated by Restaurant Wine in 1998, Roy’s has consistently devoted a great deal of time and energy to its wine program, making it one of the most “ambitious of its type.”

Roy’s famous “aloha” style of service – straight from the heart with a sense of caring and individuality – is predicated on the mission of its staff to “totally please and indulge” every guest.

As guests enjoy Roy’s award-winning food, they are treated to the casual elegance of spacious dining rooms, an expansive lounge area with a community table, and Roy’s signature exhibition kitchen. The interior design emulates the romance and comfort of “outdoor to indoor” living spaces as found within the gracious homes of the Pacific Rim. Design details include tile floors; exposed wood and woven sea grass ceiling; and handcrafted wrought iron, wood and leather fixtures accentuated by fabrics of bright reds and yellows.

Undeniably, the atmosphere found within Roy’s captures the feeling that one is experiencing something very special. The 7,500 square-foot restaurant features Roy’s Signature Exhibition Kitchen. It has a seating capacity for approximately 225 patrons, which includes a lounge area that can accommodate up to 38 and 36 on the patio. There are 2 private dining rooms, holding forty and fifty people respectively.

An average cost of dinner at Roy’s is approximately $45 a person and dinner is served Sunday through Thursday, 5:30 – 10 p.m., and 5:30 – 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Article by: Nicholas D. Olivieri / Edward L. Nickell

Other excellent restaurants that you should try in Orlando are: Rainforest Café, El Patron Restaurant Cantina and Black Angus