Since we had been out and exploring a large chunk of Maui since the wee hours of the morning, we came back to the hotel to rest and relax in the afternoon. It was so nice to spend the hottest part of the day just relaxing and listening to the ocean waves as they lapped up against the shore and everyone played in the water. As evening approached, we knew we had to go out on search for some food, but we didn’t really want to go far. Luckily, right in Ka’anapali, in the area right behind where the hotel was located was a large golf course and right near the front entrance to the Ka’anapli beachfront where the golf course is located, is a popular restaurant that we were able to get last minute reservations to.
Roy’s is a world famous restaurant from Hawaiian cuisine pioneer Roy Yamaguchi. Born in Tokyo, he got his first taste of Hawaii on vacation while visiting his grandparents in Maui. Eventually, Roy graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York and after working in LA and making a name for himself, he decided to return back to Hawaii, closer to his origins and the first Roy’s opened in Honolulu in 1988. Serving Hawaiian-influenced cuisine, including fresh seafood, steak and sushi, Roy was one of the original chefs who put Hawaiian-influenced cuisine on the map. Today, Roy’s can be found not only in Hawaii, but also on the Mainland in California, Arizona, and throughout 5 other states in some major US cities. Here in Maui, Roy’s is located just off the golf course, and in fact, the table we were seated at was a window table with a clear view looking right onto the golf course itself.
To start off our dinner meal, my husband decided to order a pint of Maui Brewing Co.’s La Perouse. My husband had no idea what kind of beer La Perouse was, other than he wanted to try something local and what could be more local than a beer made by the Maui Brewing Co. Turns out that this is a Belgian inspired ale brewed with coriander and local citrus which was a pleasant surprise to my husband. My husband described the beer as a mellow light summer beer. Generally, my husband is one who tends to like the darker, more full-bodied ale’s, however, even though this was much different than what my husband is generally used to, he did quite like the light, citrus flavor of this beer. Additionally, I think because it is Belgian inspired, my husband enjoyed it as well as Belgian ales tend to be what he gravitates towards.
As an appetizer, my husband and I chose to start off our meal by ordering the Roy’s Style Dim Sum Canoe for Two. We just couldn’t decide between a bunch of delectable sounding appetizers, so why not order a sampler plate for a little bite of all of them? The dim sum canoe for two was made up of pork & shrimp lumpier, baby back ribs, ahi poke, shrimp sticks and crispy chicken potstickers. There were two samples of each item, so that gave both of us a chance to get just a little taste of each of the items.
The pork & shrimp lumpia are really a fancy term for egg rolls. Wrapped in a wonton wrapper, the pork & shrimp combination was perfectly fried. The lumpia are nice and crispy and crunchy and the pork flavor of the lumpia really comes through. The sauce that was served with the lumpia was quite tasty as well, as it was a combination of soy sauce and something with a little heat to it.
The baby back ribs were quite tender and sweet. The meat literally was falling off the bone, and the glaze that was atop the ribs was quite sweet and lovely. These ribs were quite meaty, more so than what I generally think of when I think of baby back ribs. The Asian-inspired flavors with the toasted sesame seeds was terrific.
Ahi poke was served in a rice cracker shaped like a bowl and lined with seaweed inside. I loved the unique serving bowl because the rice cracker bowl was edible and the seaweed added a nice salty flavor that mixed well with the flavors of the poke. The poke itself tasted fresh with good sized chunks of ahi tuna. The flavors of the soy sauce and the Maui onions together with the coriander seeds and the fresh fish were terrific.
The crispy chicken potstickers had a nice, light chicken flavor to it. The chicken was tender, but in comparing it to the pork and shrimp lumpia we tasted, this chicken potsticker tasted a bit bland. The sauce it was sitting atop was a mixture of some sort of soy sauce and a sriracha mayo. The potsticker could have done with being a bit crispier on the outside to help distinguish the different textures.
Finally, we had the shrimp sticks. The shrimp was terrific. Big, huge, juicy shrimp which were nicely grilled and tender. The sweet flavor of the shrimp really came through, and that cocktail sauce that the shrimp were served with were just fantastic. The bite of horseradish in the sauce was there, and paired with the sweetness of the shrimp, it was a terrific combination.
For our entrees, my husband ordered the duck two ways with a char siu breast and a ginger confit leg, the duck was served with Molokai sweet potato, baby bok choi and lilikoi dragon sauce. The plate was so beautifully presented, and the Molokai sweet potatoes really stood out in their beautiful purple color. Unfortunately, my husband didn’t particularly like the flavor of the sweet potatoes as he thought they tasted chalky without any really flavor to them at all. The char siu duck breast was excellent. The breast was nice and tender and the bbq flavor was smoky and terrific. That was my husband’s most favorite part of the meal. Topping the char siu breast was some pineapple salsa which had a bit of a spicy kick to it which combined well with the smoky flavor of the breast meat. Also, the ginger confit duck leg wast meaty and tender. The ginger flavor was accented well by the pickled onions topping it. The lilikoi dragon sauce was terrific and flavorful and helped bring everything on the plate together as one coherent dish. However, with the multiple flavors of the duck, the bok choy, the potato mash, the picked onions, the pineapple salsa and the lilikoi dragon sauce, it did seem that there was just too much jam packed into one plate and it became a bit busy rather than just focusing on one item or one flavor profile.
As a side to our meal, we also ordered the bacon cavatappi mac & cheese. First off, had we know that the dim sum canoe for two was going to be so filling, we never would have ordered a side dish to our meals. Luckily, this mac & cheese was a smaller portion size, so it wasn’t too bad. The ma & cheese lived up to its billing and was loaded with bacon flavor. It was light and cheesy and the cavatappi was the perfect pasta to use. There was also a great smoky flavor to the mac & cheese also, which was really nice and also heightened the bacon flavor. And the panko breadcrumb topping also gave the dish a lot of crunch, which was terrific.
For my dinner, I chose the “Chinese style” jade pest steamed mahi with sizzling peanut oil, baby bok chop and ginger soy served with a side of steamed white rice. The steamed mahi was amazingly light and flaky. The fish tasted buttery and was very fork tender. The sizzling peanut oil and soy sauce combination was fantastic with just the touch of saltiness necessary to add flavor to the fish. The bok choy was very tender and it soaked up that amazing peanut oil and ginger soy sauce flavor which made the bok choy very tasty. For me, the side of rice was terrific as rice and fish go so well together, and again, the rice could also soak up the flavor of the peanut oil and ginger soy sauce. This was a terrific light meal after the very filling appetizer.
When it came time for dessert, my husband and I each decided to get our own dessert. Luckily, the desserts were quite small and individual sized, so getting two desserts wasn’t too bad. My husband ordered the Sugar Loaf pineapple upside-down cake served with vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce. After a very filling meal, my husband appreciated the smaller, individual size of this dessert. It was just the perfect size for what he was looking for. The pineapple upside-down cake was described by my husband as “excellent.” It had just right touch of sweetness and the vanilla bean ice cream was a terrific accompaniment to the light cake.
Roy’s melting hot chocolate souffle was my choice for dessert. Though, this was more like a molten lava cake rather than a souffle. Decadent chocolate cake with a hot molten center, the cake was served with raspberry coulis and vanilla bean ice cream. This dessert was served sweltering hot, right out of the oven. As soon as I cut into it, you could see the hot chocolate ooze right out of the center of the cake. The outer crust was very nicely cooked, almost like the nice crispy outer crust of a brownie. The chocolate cake was fantastic, not too sweet, just the right touch. The raspberry coulis had a good bit of tang to it to cut the sweetness of the chocolate. And of course, the vanilla bean ice cream had the perfect cooling effect contrasted against the hot chocolate cake.
We walked out of Roy’s stuffed to the gills and happy. We’d been wanting to dine at Roy’s for the past two years when we were in Honolulu and just down the street from the original Roy’s. But for some reason or another, the timing just never worked out for us to dine in Honolulu, so we were happy that we finally got a chance to dine at Roy’s in Maui. The food was certainly Asian-inspired Hawaiian cuisine and delicious. My husband and I were both happy with what we ordered and everything tasted fantastic. Maybe we’ll have to visit Roy’s here in Southern California now that we know how delicious it is.