After coming across an extensive profile of Chef Roy Yamaguchi (which included a rave review of his restaurants) in a magazine way back in 2004, I knew his Hawaiian-inspired Roy's Chicago was exactly where I wanted to spend my birthday that year. That night, Mario and I both fell hard for the delicious array of seafood options (particularly the Misoyaki Butterfish and Roasted Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi), fun cocktails, and indulgent desserts. Over ten years later (just an aside: how can 2004 possibly be over ten years ago?! We're barely out of the '90s in my mind!), Roy's has become one of my staple restaurants - I've been back for countless birthday celebrations (Diana and I have a yearly tradition that involves a massive food orgy at Roy's during her birthday month), random nights out, and even cooking classes! So of course, when the good folks at Roy's invited me to stop by to check out their newest Taste of Hawaii Prix Fixe menu, I immediately grabbed Mario, jumped in the car, and headed down to River North to get my nosh on!
As a firm believer in the every good dinner starts with a round of fabulous cocktails rule, I kicked off the evening with the 1988. The first Roy's was opened in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1988 and this fantastic cocktail pays tribute to their original location. Made with Finlandia Grapefruit, SOHO Lychee & Patron Citronge, and served with a lychee garnish, this tart and tangy cocktail is not only my favorite on the menu at Roy's, it's also one of my favorites of all-time!
While Mario and I were there primarily to sample the new three-course prix fixe menu, we just couldn't resist adding on a few of our favorite appetizers. This Maine Lobster Dim Sum with lobster cream sauce and white truffle emulsion may not look all that exciting, but trust me, it is an explosion of truffle lobster happiness in your mouth!
Rainbow Poke with ahi, ono, salmon, spicy strawberry emulsion, and taro chips. While I've always liked poke, some little poke-loving switch inside of me must have flipped because I've gone from enjoying it to being all out obsessed during the last year! Roy's version definitely does not disappoint - I love how they use a variety of fishes (as so many restaurants in this area only offer ahi) and the taro chips are some of the best I've ever had.
After devouring our appetizers, we then moved on to the three-course dinner (yes, the three courses alone would have made for a perfect meal, but we're obviously gluttons). For the first course, we had a choice between the Heirloom Tomato Salad or the Shrimp Shumai, filled with Chinese cabbage and Kaiware sprouts, and served with a pineapple shoyu vinaigrette. We both really enjoyed the pairing of the sweet pineapple vinaigrette with the savory dense dumplings.
For the second course, we had a choice of the Pan-Seared Hawaiian Opakapaka (which is always delicious!) or the Kona-Coffee Crusted Pork & Kauai Prawns. Once again, we chose the same dish - not because we're that lame couple that always has to make the same choices, but more because we both vowed to try something new (while I've eaten my way through their appetizers, I almost always stick with the same handful of entrées). I'm so glad I stepped away from my usual orders because this was by far one of the best pork dishes I've ever tasted, thanks to the perfectly seared meat and the super flavorful and nutty hon shimeji mushrooms!
For our dessert course, we decided to each order a different option so that we could try them both. We started with this summery White Chocolate Tart, served with passion fruit gel and sorbet. This light and refreshing dessert (especially the sorbet) is perfect for a hot summer day!
Finally, we ended our meal with the crème de la crème of Roy's desserts: their signature Chocolate Soufflé. Yes, it's true that we had both ordered this amazing creation during previous visits, but since we also sampled the White Chocolate Tart (which was new to us), we figured we weren't breaking our rule about trying new dishes. Plus, this soufflé is so insanely decadent and delicious that there's no way I'm going to visit Roy's and not order it! The inside of this molten chocolate cake is just oozing with a rich pool of chocolate... it is straight up melt-in-your-mouth happiness!
Warm, gooey chocolate deliciousness!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own.