Saturday, December 3, 2011

Stress-Free Celebrating: Roy's Restaurant

Growing up, we had big family dinners and my mother can put together an incredible meal for a big group. For the holidays, however, those big family meals were often at a restaurant. When I tell people this, they always cluck in sympathy (or is that pity?), thinking that I've missed out of growing up with big home-cooked celebratory meals.

As a kid, I wondered if I missed out. As an adult, I have to ask... is it that bad? It means not having to deal with dishes or having to clean your house. It means not having to stress over planning and executing the perfect meal. It means not having to feign delight and hoard Pepto Bismol if, for the love of George, people in your family just. can't. cook.

If your family's like mine and you're wondering where to ring in the holidays, I recommend Roy's Restaurant. The lovely Chelsea of Blaze PR reached out to me about sampling Roy's Fall prix fixe meal and I could hardly say no. Y'see, I used to live behind the La Jolla/University City location in the behemoth Costa Verde complex. As a UCSD student, I'd drive by Roy's all the time and always do a double-take at the lit tiki torches around the restaurant.

Dear God, is that place on fire?

If by "on fire," you mean delicious, then yes, it's on fire.

In the good hands of manager Brian and staffers Mary, John, and Erik, we started with drinks. Dan, who loves frilly cocktails, settled down with a mai tai. Umbrellas, bright colors, fruit garnishes... you name it, he'll drink it. We're like JD and his appletinis in Scrubs (I am totally Elliot at 2:41 in the video)

Sorry, honey. I had to tell the world. (And it was delicious. You're just jealous you didn't get one. -Dan)

The dishes started arriving.

And arriving. The appetizers were the first in a long and delicious stream of dishes. We started with the crispy potato croquettes, which had potatoes mixed with salted cod and served on a macadamia-nut romesco. The croquettes were perfectly fried and the romesco was delicious. It was accompanied by my favorite appetizer, the yuzu crab stuffed shrimp. The shrimp was juicy and tangy with yuzu and shiso, two of my favorite Japanese flavors.

The Fuji apple salad was refreshing. The smoked almonds and curry puree were quite pungent, but served in small enough quantity that they didn't overwhelm the salad. It's a flavorful salad and a great precursor for the hearty main dishes.

The salmon skin was crisped in brown butter, making it one of the most delicious eats of the evening. Accompanied by perfectly cooked fingerling potatoes and pea tendrils, the dish is light and perfect for those looking for a healthier dish. On the heartier side is the cherry-stuffed pork tenderloin roulade, served with black rice, butternut squash, and pea tendrils. The pork is tender, the squash sweet, and the rice nutty.

My favorite of the entrees was the Asian Coq au Vin, which was chicken dark meat braised in sake and soy sauce. Served with ingredients ranging from traditionally Asian (lotus root, daikon) to the very American (potatoes, bacon), it is a great rendition of a comforting dish. My suggestion is to order a bowl of rice and ladle that sauce over it.

As for desserts, I'm rather partial to the melting chocolate souffle over the harvest spice cake. The chocolate souffle was a very classic and very delicious pairing of hot chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream, while the spice cake fell a little flat with a bland mousse and a cake that was too reminiscent of pumpkin bread. While tasty, it wasn't very dessert-esque and didn't work with the mousse.

The service was excellent and we were stuffed to the gills by the time dinner was over. Whether a weeknight out or a celebratory meal for a special occasion, I definitely recommend trying Roy's fall prix fixe menu. If anyone clucks in sympathy at you, just remember that you had a delicious meal with none of the work. Obnoxious relatives, however, are something Roy's can't handle for you. The fall prix fixe menu is available at certain locations and, for San Diego, only at Roy's La Jolla.

Roy's Restaurant (La Jolla location)
8670 Genesee Avenue
San Diego, CA 92122

Many thanks to Chelsea of Blaze PR and Brian, Mary, John, and Erik of Roy's La Jolla for a wonderful evening of delicious eats. Although we were graciously hosted by Roy's and Blaze PR, my opinions, as always, are my own.

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Ann P. said...

Driving by and seeing those tiki torches, I've always wondered about Roy's too! Thanks for this review--I will know what to expect when we plan a night out there :)
- from a fellow San Diego food blogger!

Kim - Liv Life said...

I have only been to the Roy's in Honolulu (we wrote about that one last November) and I have promised Liv that I would take her to this one, perhaps over the Holiday school break in a few weeks.  We also stopped by Roy's at the SD Food and Wine Fest and well, my husband actually went back for thirds (shhh... don't tell anyone!).  Roy's is a wonderful place!  Thanks for the reminder to visit, Liv and I will have a girls night out!!

Mary D. said...

I think I could just go for those potato croquettes and be happy - they look and sound delicious!

Jenny said...

You've made me wanna go to ROYS ASAP!!!  Those pics are gorrrrgeous.

Elva@ Gluten Free said...

Beautiful pics!I like it. You really made my day :)

5 bites