Just One Bite: Roy’s Aloha Hour
I was invited recently to try out Roy’s Aloha Hour with bloggess extraordinare Nancy White. After several recent less-than-stellar experiences with beach restaurant happy hour menus, I was cautiously optimistic that Roy’s would deliver on their Hawaiian fantasy promises. Of course, Roy’s staff knew who we were and that we were going to write about our experiences. The service was stellar but we were invited guests so my experience may differ from your own in that regard.
A gloriously detailed review of our experience is at Nancy’s Nourish the Beast blog, so I won’t try here to chronicle each and every dish we sampled. The entire menu, which consists of $5 upscale Hawaiian fusion bar food, doesn’t have a dud in the bunch. Included are Crunchy Golden Lobster Potstickers, Lobster California Roll, Tempura Crusted Spicy Ahi Roll, Salt & Pepper Crisped Calamari, Szechuan Grilled Beef Tenderloin Skewers and Wagyu Beef Sliders. The portions are generous and the quality was top notch. These are well thought out and balanced dishes with an eye toward detail and maximum flavor profiles.
I would gladly order any of the dishes again, but my favorite was the Salt & Pepper Crisped Calamari.
The term “salt and pepper” implies simplicity, but the sauce really makes this dish something special. I’m normally skilled in picking out what is in a sauce but this one is truly unique. From Nancy’s site – “Apparently the sauce can change with the season and may be different from location to location as well. Chef Opie makes this one with a combination of lemon and lime juices, fish sauce, Thai chile sauce and water, then hits it with some sliced red onion and an herb chiffonade.” It was very delicious and made the perfectly prepared calamari pop with massive flavor. If you hate calamari because you think it has the texture of fried rubber bands, try Roy’s. It is tender and crispy without a fishy taste or even a hint of rubberiness.
To go along with the calamari, I highly recommend Roy’s Original Hawaiian Martini.
Maui pineapples, Skyy Vodka, Stoli Vanil Vodka and Malibu Coconut Rum mix up to create a perfect accompaniment to the beautiful crisped calamari with Hawaiian Fusion sauce.
At just $5 for a huge portion of calamari and $5 for the Hawaiian Martini, you could have an extremely satisfying light dinner at Roy’s for $10 before taxes and tip. Add in another of the selections and it’s a meal to satisfy even the hungriest appetite at $15. The dishes are also versatile enough to be a light bite shared between friends to begin an evening out. The quality of these dishes is excellent, the price point is generous and the atmosphere is great. I am not normally a fan of beach concept restaurants or happy hours, but Roy’s is a place I’d gladly make the drive to for any of these dishes again. Roy’s is a great example of how a chain can express their individuality and serve their customers with thoughtfulness and creativity while still enjoying the benefits of a larger organization. Roy’s is doing it right so I highly recommend their Aloha Hour menu.
Special thanks to Nancy White and Roy’s Restaurant for the invitation and a lovely evening. Roy’s is located at 2400 3rd St S in Jacksonville Beach, FL . For more information, give them a call at 241-7697 or visit their website at www.roysrestaurant.com. Aloha!
all photos copyright © 2010 by jodi a. kasten • all rights reserved
A big “thank you” to Barry B. Doyle for teaching me how to make the black background on the martini glass photo using PhotoShop. You’re a gentleman and a scholar, Barry!