Sunday, May 15, 2011

Faded Love....

"As I gaze at the letters that you once wrote to me ... I remember our faded love..."

Roy Yamaguchi got a lot of positive press when he began opening his Roy's restaurants stateside. He began in Hawaii and moved here where he now has 25 restaurants in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii and Illinois.

The words "Hawaiian-Asian fusion" intrigued me. We were in Palm Springs and I discovered that there was one in neighboring Rancho Mirage. I couldn't wait! We got all dressed up (going-on-the-airplane clothes) and away we went.

A waterfall of alohas fell on our ears. By the time we were seated, we'd been aloha'd by: the valet parker, the doorman, the woman at the reception desk and our server as she seated us. I thought we were through with all of the alohas (all very sincerely delivered) but our bus boy couldn't fill our water glasses without sayin "Aloha" first. Happily I knew to say back "Mahalo" which is "thank you." (Mahalo, Tony)

The servers can be playful. One night I was wearing a black outfit. Our server seated us and gently put a napkin to each lap. The server said, "Wait! You must have a black napkin to go with your outfit" and before I could protest, he'd grabbed one off of a neighboring table and floated it over my lap. "There," he said, "That's better."

Okay, excellent service. What about this "Hawaiian-Asian fusion thing? Roy's is heavily invested in fish. There are more fish dishes on the menu than many a seafood resto. On our last visit (Tuesday night) we ordered the lobster pot stickers and the tiger shrimp sticks. Both were excellent. Richie ordered the Kobe hangar steak and I the U-10 hotiron-seared scallops which came with squash risotto with goat cheese and pork belly lardons. Roy's lets you know exactly what you're going to get.

Unfortunately, the risotto sucked. It tasted like a mouthful of kindergarten paste. The "squash" was just julienne threads running through the rice and the goat cheese was not a good idea at all. It was my first and quite possibly last taste of risotto. The sea scallops were fine and Richie cleaned his plate with gusto. He ordered a creme brulee for dessert and I a pineapple upside down cake which was stunningly good. (It was the last night of "one appetizer, one entree and one dessert, your choice off the menu for $35 per person." The tab though was about $120; a drink each before dinner and wine with it.

I think my love is fading because I am getting tired of either having to ask what a sauce contains or finding something I like very much partnered with something I can't stand. Roy's menu descriptions are wordy -- for example: Crunchy Golden Lobster Poststickers with spice togarashi miso butter sauce. Crusty Shrimp with sugar snap peas, gailan squash, Thai chili and tom yuon broth. Happily, the servers do know all of the answers, but it slows down ordereing by quite a bit.

No, I won't take Roy's, Rancho Mirage, off speed dial on the cell phone. But, Roy baby, you're no longer #1 on my list of "We have to eat here while we're there!"

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