Friday night I had dinner at Roy's with three friends. It was the first time I've eaten at this Roy's, or any other. One of my fellow diners had been to Roy's before and really liked it, which was why we were all there. The decor was much more trendy than I expected, with upbeat dance/lounge music playing in the background and stylish decor. The noise level was a bit loud, and the whole place seemed bustling and happening. We were seated in the balcony, which was quieter and more relaxed than the main floor.
* Yellow Fin Ahi Poketini: the friend who recommended the restaurant said this was the best dish there, and he loves it. The ahi (raw tuna) was cut smaller than in the average poke, and was mixed with crushed sesame seeds, poppy seeds, japanese pepper (the type found in sichimi), and several other spices, with some brunoised tomatoes and onions at the bottom. It was attractively served in a martini glass with some avocado, tobiko, and "sambal sour cream". The seeds and tobiko gave a nice crunchiness to the ahi, and it was spicier than most pokes (I thought it was a tad over-spicy, and I have a decent spiciness tolerance). Overall I thought it was good, but I didn't love it as much as my friend.
* Kung pao calamari with squash: strips of calamari, shrimp, cashews, and veggies in a watery spicy Asian sauce, served in a hollowed-out squash bowl. It didn't taste exactly kung pao, but hey, it's a fusion restaurant and was close enough. The sauce was a bit too watery for the seafood and veggies, but was okay as a subtle flavoring for the squash, which was nicely roasted. Overall, this dish was just okay.
* Blue crab cake with kimchee: The tartness and crunchiness of the kimchee went well with the softness of the crab cake, though it overpowered the crab flavor. This was just okay too.
* Roy's Fusion Sampler (came with three course prix fixe): The shrimp sticks were simply grilled but tasty, and the szechuan baby back rib was not spicy at all but had a pleasant tangy sweetness. The kalua pork and cabbage lumpia had an interesting smokiness from the pork, and was pretty good with the nuoc mam (Vietnamese sweet/spicy fish sauce). This appetizer got a thumbs-up from everyone.
* Ahi on Green Bean Salad: I didn't try this and so can't comment.
Three of us ordered the $30 prix fixe menu, which included the Fusion Sampler appetizer, reviewed above, plus a choice of one of four entrees, and finished with chocolate souffle. The fourth person had the salad listed above.
* Blackened Ahi in Spicy Soy Mustard: This is also available as an appetizer. As an entree, a good-sized seared ahi portion was served on a pressed rice triangle (onigiri) that was sprinkled with flaked seaweed. Around it were alternating swirls of mustard and horseradish. If you like mustard, you'll like this dish. I recommend that you swirl the mustard and horseradish at the beginning; I accidentally once only got a bunch of horseradish on my morsel and had the obvious burning sensation. The dish is good, but not outstanding. (However, I'm a bit of a foodie and am not easily impressed.)
* Whitefish: I don't remember the preparation well since I only sampled a little bit, but it was also good but not outstanding.
* Trio of Hawaiian desserts: I didn't try this, but my friend who ordered it liked it. It came with some coconut jelly slices, a small custard with passionfruit around it, and lychee ice cream.
* Molten dark chocolate souffle with raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream: The ice cream was pretty good, and the souffle had a luscious melted chocolate center. The souffle itself wasn't as fluffy and light as I'd like, though, but that might be from the dark chocolate. The raspberry sauce was strangely light and overwhelmed by the chocolate, but it went well with the ice cream.
In addition, we each got a cocktail, which were all quite good if you like sweet fruity cocktails. Their sakitini was overpowered by the pineapple and lost all trace of the sake, but it was still tasty. The pineapple martini was also sweet but nicely delicate and refreshing. I don't remember the mai tai well but thought it was just okay.
The total for the dining experience was $225 including tax and tip for our party of four. We ordered a lot, though -- perhaps too much since we were totally stuffed at the end and had a hard time finishing our meals. Overall I would recommend this place for the fun, lively atmosphere and the perfectly decent and interesting food, though it is a tad expensive. It's not amazing, but it's a good place to go out with your friends or a date for a nice dinner.
Roy's San Francisco
101 Second Street (entrance on Mission)
San Francisco, CA. 94109
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