Celebrating + Tasting At Roy’s Restaurant

by Jenn (eating bender) on July 30, 2011

On Tuesday morning, Bobby got some delightful news.

He passed his Level II CFA exam with flying colors! I’m a proud wife. :)

Coincidentally, that same night we were scheduled to attend a tasting at Roy’s Restaurant downtown, as part of an opportunity to meet the new chef partner in Chicago, Chef Rhett Dukes. Now there were two great reasons to celebrate!

The weather was beautiful that evening, allowing me to take some fun outdoor shots of the restaurant.

Once we were indoors, the Roy’s staff guided us to a separate room for the tasting. The place settings were very inviting and the mood lighting was just right. πŸ˜‰

Bobby and I were immediately greeted by a choice of cocktails. I went with the mai tai…

…and Bobby went with the Hawaiian martini.

The mai tai was refreshingly sweet, made with fruit juices and rum. The martini was a strong mix of vodka and coconut rum. Bobby did not realize there was coconut involved — he’s not a fan — so we switched drinks. It was his night to celebrate, after all!

We were also served a couple of pre-tasting appetizers: coconut-crusted shrimp and lobster California rolls. Can’t go wrong with either in my opinion — I definitely enjoyed the lobster vs. crab in the sushi.

Once all the guests had arrived, Chef Rhett made his appearance and wished us all an enjoyable meal.

There were cocktails served with each course. First up was a sparkling Chandon Blanc de Noirs.

This was perfectly sweet and paired well with the Maine Lobster Dim Sum, which was, in a word, incredible! It had a white truffle emulsion and lobster cream sauce and basically melted in our mouths.

The servers also brought out seasoned edamame. Always a good choice.

Then it was time for round two! This course was paired with a Basil Cucumber Collins Cocktail.

The Miso Soup was served with rock shrimp, glass noodles, shiitake mushrooms, tofu and sesame.

I loved that they brought out the bowl with ingredients first so that we could get a good look! The broth was a bit lukewarm, but it still tasted great when mixed with everything else.

Also on the plate was Lumpia Prito, or spring rolls. These were made with mung bean sprouts, glass noodles, scallions and cabbage, then marinated in a flavorful dipping sauce all the way through.

Another hit from Chef Rhett, in both my and Bobby’s opinions!

When the third course came around, we were wondering whether it could get any better. First they brought out the wine, a smooth red called “Meomi” by Belle Glos.

This course was a trio of Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish, Teppanyaki Seared Ono and Hawaii Kai Style Beef Short Ribs. You really couldn’t ask for a better way to try a little of everything.

The butterfish was by far my favorite. Did you know that it actually is not butterfish at all? This in particular was made with cod, which I never would have guessed. They call it butterfish because they marinate it for two days and by the time it’s finished being prepared, it has the smoothness and consistency of buttah. It was served over a sweet ginger wasabi sauce. Hands down my favorite from the entire night.

The ono was probably my least favorite.

Interestingly, many people commented that this tasted the least “fishy” in their opinion, but I thought the opposite. Maybe I’m crazy. That said, the arugula, watermelon and hearts of palm salad it came with was great, as was the rice served in the lemon ginger soy sauce.

The short ribs made up the last part of the trio. They were beefy and flavorful, as would be expected, served with honey mustard, Yukon mashed potatoes, broccolini and a natural braising sauce.

But of course, no tasting would be complete without the fourth and final course — dessert! Chef Rhett certainly did not disappoint here, either. By far the most creative thing on the menu was the Baked Hawaiian, which was his take on Baked Alaska.

I don’t think it’s possible to go wrong with a volcano-shaped dessert. Everything from the meringue to the chocolate to the ice cream inside — a hint of mango and strawberry — tasted rich and wonderful.

Chef Rhett also served up a Chilled Espresso Lava. By the time I got to this I was too full to take more than a couple of bites, but it was definitely a delicious caffeinated pick-me-up and after wondering for a while what made it taste a bit spicy, I found out that there was cayenne pepper involved. Genius.

Overall, I would rate the food and service as excellent! I was very happy to have received an invite and am glad that I was able to join in on this tasting. Chef Rhett was personable and (obviously!) very talented. We look forward to returning to Roy’s again soon.

In other fun news, I entered both Bobby and myself into a drawing for a gift card. I never win contests, so imagine my surprise when…Bobby’s name was drawn! At least someone is lucky around here. πŸ˜‰

Tonight I’m looking forward to celebrating a very special someone’s 31st birthday!

What are your plans for the weekend?


1 Erica July 30, 2011 at 11:05 am

Congrats to the man!!!!!!!!!!! How awesome!!!! And what a fun tasting! The coconut-crusted shrimp, spring rolls and baked alaska all look AMAZING to me! Have fun celebrating the big birthday! We are going to dinner with friends tonight…and then maybe baby soon :)

2 MarathonVal July 30, 2011 at 11:43 am

I’m so glad you wrote this post – for some reason I always thought Roy’s was more of a diner, but it looks like it is more fine dining than diner! Everything looks amazing!!

3 Erin July 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm

What a worthy celebration :) High five to BD!
Did I ever tell you my mom got her certification as well? Twinsies!
Have fun with M! <3

4 Clare @ Fitting It All In July 30, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Congratulations to Bobby!! Those tests are HARD!

5 Melissa @ TryingToHeal July 30, 2011 at 9:13 pm

that place looks great! whit talks about how Roy’s is so popular as a hawaiian dish restaurant…and wanted to take me there but didn’t think I could eat anything. boo! :) I can’t wait to hear what you’re doing for this someone’s 31st bday.

6 Marianne July 31, 2011 at 1:50 am

OMG – that whole meal looks amazing. So much delicious seafood. I would have loved to try all those dishes. Lucky girl!

7 withasideofhope August 1, 2011 at 6:52 am

Wow! What a fun event to be invited to! All of that food looks delicious! Congrats to Bobby! :)

8 Emilie August 1, 2011 at 9:12 am

Yum! Now I need to stop in at Roy’s Chicago!

9 Megan (Braise The Roof) August 1, 2011 at 10:38 am

I’m jealous, that meal looks incredible! I used to know some of the waitstaff from Roy’s back in my serving days, but I never made it in. I’ll have to put it on the list. :) Congrats to Bobby!

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