Hawaiian Munch 

Corporate atmosphere dulls the luster of Roy's innovative fusion menu

A recent dinner at Roy's got off to a shaky start. First, they were out of sparkling water. Not an especially big deal. On to more important matters: cocktails. On previous visits to Roy's, I'd gotten happily toasted on a Hawaiian martini, a potent mix of plain vodka, vanilla vodka, coconut rum and a chunk of pineapple that's been macerating in the potent mixture so long, it's more liquor than fruit. They were out of those, too. Curses! I glumly ordered a Mai Tai and tried to keep my chin up. A minute later our server hustled back over, beaming. "The bartender had just enough Hawaiian martini left to make you one!" Score one for Roy's.

The place is attractive, if a bit corporate. Given that it's situated in the lobby of a generic Buckhead office building, I suppose it fits. Expense-account types schmoozed at the next table, while a polished thirtysomething couple got to know each other over drinks at the booth behind us. Middle-aged single guys cruised the scene at the piano bar. It all made for quite a spectacle: Buckhead lite, if you will.

The story gets better with the food. The menu is a heady mix of Asian and European influences. I raised an eyebrow when our server recommended the Lakanilau roll, the most expensive roll on the sushi menu, but she was right. Paper-thin slices of seared Kobe beef topped rolls made of buttery snow crab, avocado and crunchy tempura asparagus. Pan-fried lobster pot stickers were also a treat: Assertive ginger and scallion mingled with the sweet, delicate flavor of the lobster meat without overpowering it.

Misoyaki butterfish, a flaky white fish our server compared to cod, was served over baby bok choy in a rich, gingery butter sauce. The dish hovered on the brink of being too sweet but managed to stay just this side of it. A surf-and-turf combo of filet and grilled shrimp, the priciest item on the menu at $38, was a modest disappointment. Granted, the filet was huge, beautifully charred on the outside and perfectly medium-rare inside, but the over-seasoned, overcooked shrimp fell flat.

The only other ripple in the evening came about three-quarters through dinner. The lady behind me peeked her head around the booth sheepishly. Would I mind getting up for a minute? She'd dropped her credit card in a crack between the booth and the wall, and several strapping busboys would have to physically move the booth so she could retrieve it. Oh, brother.

Quirks and corporate decor aside, I like Roy's. Service is competent, and the menu has panache. And hey, even though the night was a little bumpy, there was an upshot - they offered us free dessert.

florence.byrd@creativeloafing.com

Bye Bye, Bruno

After four years as chef of The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, Bruno Ménard will depart the highly awarded restaurant May 30 to become chef and director of Restaurant L'Osier in Japan's famed Ginza district. A global search to find Ménard's successor has begun. This marks only the third time in the 20-year history of The Dining Room that such a search has taken place, the first conducted after the departure of Guenther Seeger, and the second after Joel Antunes.

Birthday Bash

If Kevin Rathbun opening Krog Bar isn't enough excitement for Inman Park, Rathbun's is celebrating its first birthday this month. To celebrate, the restaurant will host a dinner party Sun., May 22, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Festivities include food stations, a full bar, live music and a Big Green Egg raffle. Cost is $75 per person. 112 Krog St. 404-524-8280. www.rathbunsrestaurant.com.

A Toast to Moms

Bacchanalia chef Anne Quatrano has cooked up quite an affair. On Sun., May 15, Star Provisions will host a bevy of well-known chefs from and their mothers (or daughters) for a cooking demonstration and high tea to benefit women chefs and restaurateurs. Guest chefs include Seattle chef Christine Keff and her family, chef Lanie Bayless of Chicago's famed Frontera Grill and Topolobampo and her mother, Deann Bayless; and Washington, D.C. chef Nora Pouillon and her daughter, Nina Pouillon. All attendees will receive signed copies of Ann Cooper's In Mother's Kitchen and Rick and Lanie Bayless' Rick & Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures. 1198 Howell Mill Road. 404-365-0410. www.starprovisions.com.

Soft Sell

Woodfire Grill continues its series of seasonal dinners Mon., May 16, with a dinner spotlighting soft shell crabs. Chef Michael Tuohy will prepare a four-course menu, with each course featuring a different preparation of soft shell crabs. $75 per person, including wine pairings. 1782 Cheshire Bridge Road. 404-347-9055. www.woodfiregrill.com.

Spring Fever

With the arrival of spring, Spice announces its new seasonal menu, available Sunday through Thursday, 5-7 p.m. The three-course, nightly changing menu will highlight the season's best meats and produce. Cost of $30 per person includes appetizer, entree, dessert and one glass of wine. 793 Juniper St. 404-875-4242. www.spicerestaurant.com.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Feedbag

More by Florence Byrd

Restaurant Review: Bread & Butterfly
Restaurant Review: Bread & Butterfly

Search Events

  1. First Look: Rreal Tacos 14

    An authentic taqueria in the heart of Midtown
  2. Cliff's top 10 Atlanta restaurants for dining on a budget 34

    Our longtime columnist picks his favorite wallet-friendly eateries of 2013
  3. Cliff’s top 10 Atlanta restaurants for dining on a budget 13

    Our longtime columnist picks his favorite wallet-friendly eateries of 2014

Recent Comments

© 2016 Creative Loafing Atlanta
Powered by Foundation