Jan 25, 2008

Roy's

After our trip to wd-50, Guy and I had not intended on taking advantage of Restaurant Week. I don’t believe we’ve ever taken advantage of Restaurant Week, come to that. But my boss called Guy and asked where we were going, and apparently that’s all it took.

Well, that and the fact that Roy’s was participating.

We’ve actually been to Roy’s three times—once when we were first dating, again for our one-year anniversary (a whole one, this time) and then again in Kona on our first trip visiting my parents, when it was absolutely essential that we have a night to ourselves.

Roy’s in Manhattan is tucked away in just about the worst location imaginable—at the base of the Marriott Hotel. And at the moment, opposite the construction site for the newest W Hotel (it was mercifully quiet, for all that). The décor is mildly tacky by Manhattan standards—the seats and tables are worn and scratched, and the pseudo-tropical murals on the pillars are cheery at best. The funny thing is, it’s authentic. All nice restaurants in Hawaii look like that, with exactly that color scheme.

It was far more crowded than I’d ever seen it, though hardly anybody was ordering the Prix Fixe. And to be honest, there wasn’t much on there that I wanted—miso soup? Spring greens? Shrimp lo mein? I’m sure it’s the very best shrimp lo mein in the whole world, but there was no way I was spending $24 on a noodle stir fry. The options were so limited that Guy ordered the salmon on soba noodles even though he doesn’t like salmon. We both ordered the Sichaun braised short ribs to start, and I, in a wild surge of homesickness, ordered the glorified loco moco.

A loco moco (real name) costs you about $2.00 at Café 100. You get a Styrofoam cup filled up halfway with rice, an overdone hamburger patty, and an egg, topped with gravy. I’ve only had it once or twice—it’s no spam musubi or cone sushi.

We had asked for water when we were seated, but none came. As we ordered, our server went through the list of “sparkling, still, etc.” and I said—or meant to say—plain water is fine. We were brought a bottle of Figi. Guy growled. The server rolled his eyes, but the $8.00 or whatever that bottle would have run us did not appear on the bill.

I’m so glad I went with the two meat dishes. Miso soup would just have been sad. Those were some of the best short ribs I’ve ever had—certainly the most tender. The bones stripped themselves clean at the slightest tug. The fat was juicy but not chewy, and the sauce was peppery and sweet and sour and perhaps even had that fifth flavor that Guy was going on about: umami.

Our food was delivered by someone other than our server—the happiest man I think I’ve ever encountered. Bringing us our food absolutely made his day, and he was so excited for us to be eating it. However—he did attempt to give Guy my loco moco. I guess nobody believed a skinny girl would ever really order it.

It was a disk of properly sticky rice, topped with grilled meatloaf, a sunny egg, and fried onions. It was delicious. The meatloaf was crisp and juicy, and the egg yolk dripped down and it was all very simple and hearty and good.

Guy’s salmon on green soba was tasty…I think. I had a bite and don’t really remember it. That’s probably a bad sign.

Guy had ordered the dessert I wanted—the lilikoi cheesecake with lychee gelée—so I went with the caramel flan. It was too sweet. I suppose if I hadn’t scraped off the berry compote it would have cut the sweetness a little, but I didn’t like berry compote. It reminded me of canned cranberry sauce—and not the smooth kind that you slice up. (I like that kind). Guy claimed it was guava. It was not guava.

Guy’s dessert, on the other hand, was excellent. I don’t usually like flavored cheesecakes—and haven’t like lilikoi cheesecakes in the past—but this wasn’t too overwhelming. I thought the pistachio crumble was a mismatch, but that’s a quibble. And the lychee gelée was perfect. It tasted exactly like lychee.

We split a cup of coffee to combat the sleepiness of a heavy meal consumed in the middle of the day. It has not had much effect. My stomach is only now starting to shrink back to normal size, and I’m looking forward to a light meal of hummus and falafel tonight.

The homesickness, on the other hand, is not assuaged.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

All I have to say is: bummer. A meal that dissapoints one's anticipation of it is a sore meal indeed.

Enjoy the falafel. Mmm.