By Raymond Bill
Each week, I make an effort to visit a different restaurant here in our valley and mostly, I seek unique, privately owned fine dining restaurants that boast originality. This week, I strayed from my normal routine and dined at a chain restaurant that prides itself on fresh seafood with tropical flavors. Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion has many locations throughout the country and I decided to enjoy dinner with a very dear friend of mine in Rancho Mirage.
As we walked toward the entrance, we could feel the warmth from the decorative tiki torches that lined the building. A pleasant hostess greeted us and we were seated in the dining room. The staff was welcoming, not only to us but all around us as well. It was a Monday night and by 7pm, the entire restaurant was full. For our first course, we would share the lobster potstickers and the pork belly dim sum. Both were delicious with our favorite being the crunchy potstickers with a subtly spicy miso butter sauce. After our appetizers, we shared a salad, a “Maui Wowie Shrimp Salad” with avocado and tomato tossed with fresh chopped butter lettuce. Our starters were perfect portions and each course was appropriately portioned, but what was most impressive was how each plate was presented to us with detail.
While we started with a glass of sparkling wine, we enjoyed a glass of pinot noir from a large wine list with great selections. The menu was not too large; however, it was difficult to decide on our entrée selections. Fortunately, there were a few combination plates that allowed us to enjoy several flavors paired together. My guest raved about her trio of seafood which included Hibachi Salmon, Macadamia Nut Mahi Mahi and Misoyaki Butterfish. Each paired with its own accompaniment and perfectly cooked, this dish has to be the most popular dish. I’ll also add that the bok choy was incredible. I would also have a combination with my Beef Short Ribs and Butterfish. Butterfish is essentially the same as Cod, so it was mild and soft, easily flaking apart. The short ribs were the best I have had and were reminiscent of grandmother’s pot roast. It was so tender that it easily pulled apart and melted in my mouth.
How could we top this amazing meal? We preordered a mini chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice cream and paired that with a chocolate martini made with Godiva chocolate liqueur and Chambord raspberry liqueur. I’m not sure which was better, oh wait, yes I am… the martini! What a great finish to an amazing meal. Everything was so full of flavor, intense even. My next visit will be to enjoy their “Aloha Hour” where drinks and appetizers are offered in the bar area for $6.
Roy’s is open 7 nights per week from 5pm to 9pm with Friday and Saturday open an hour later, to 10pm. Aloha Hour is from 4:30 to 6:30 every night. Located near the River in Rancho Mirage, at 71959 Highway 111. Call for reservations or visit online at www.roysrestaurant.com