We had to run out to a client of my wife's business on Pt. Dume last night, so I took the opportunity to make a quick reservation for Duke's on Open Table just before we got on the road. It's always a bit of a crap shoot for me trying to estimate an arrival time at the restaurant, but I went with 8:15 PM and that turned out to be just about right (with a 15 minute wait for our reservation - which was only about 6 minutes past our reservation time).
I'll say that I was pleasantly surprised about the gracious service, the quality of the food and the taming of absolute pandemonium by the valet guy's in the parking lot on a busy, warm summer night on the beach.
I thought the food was really solid, if not spectacular. My wife started with the Maui onion soup and she loved it. I began with the poke taco appetizer. These are 3 little taco's in some sort of lacy, deep fried shell with aw Ahi dressed with shoyu, Maui onions and wasabi aioli - all set on some nicely ripe avocado used to anchor the taco shells to the plate. I added the avocado to the top of the Ahi. Really quite delicious.
For mains I had the banana leaf shrimp and fish done with sake ginger sauce and sizzling sesame oil. I chose a side of rice. Fish and shrimp were both beautifully cooked (and even the rice was cooked perfectly). Very moist from the steaming but with plenty of flavor. My wife chose to have prime rib and added their coconut shrimp with mashed potatoes. Also quite nice with a very generous and perfectly rare piece of prime rib.
I think Duke's does a very credible job of being a good alternative to Roy's, and their location on the water in the old Sea Lion space gives them a leg up on the two Los Angeles Roy's branches (Woodland Hills and downtown Los Angeles).
One other note. Coming home after dinner, maybe 9:45 or so, we went by Gladstone's. There were so many cars waiting to get into their parking lot it looked like a sig-alert on the 405 Freeway. Man, they must just be printing money there.
Including two Kamekazi's up and one iced tea, with tax the bill came to $112, plus tip. I thought the amount was very fair for what we had.