Roy’s Hawaiian (Pasadena)
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Hawaiian, for those who want to avoid L&L’s and can’t hop on a plane.
One might be forgiven for thinking that you’d get authentic Hawaiian at Roy’s. After all, it’s got “Hawaiian” in the name, right? But real Hawaiian, authentic Hawaiian is a fried and starchy affair. It’s macaroni and cheese as the side of a deep-fried pork cutlet. It is the occasional (though fairly frequent) use of Spam. It is ever ubitiquous and ever present Poi.
That…is not Roy’s Hawaiian. Not by a long shot.
What Roy’s is, on the other hand is a party place. Its Japanese cuisine coated with a layer of Hawaiian. How do I know this? I first hit the place with…gasp and shock…an actual Hawaiian. The food got good enough reviews, but there was no fooling. You’d find food that looked like this on the islands, but it did lack some of the 50th State’s…shall we say…earthier kick.
Look, I know all about this. I’m from Maryland, born and raised. We’re a big Seafood State. We like our Seafood plain and simple. Steam up a bunch of crabs, throw a generous helping of Old Bay Seasoning on ‘em, spread the Crabs on yesterdays Newspaper. Whip out the nutcrackers and hammers. Go to work. Simple. Then came along a fancy-pants place called McCormick and Schmick’s (no relation to the company that makes the Old Bay Seasoning). It was all white tablecloths and…proper silverware, and fancy dining. Marylanders did not take to it.
Roy’s…is the Hawaiian version of McCormick and Schmick’s.
That in a summary, is how I think a lot of Islanders might look at Roy’s. Yeah, it basically serves our stuff. But we don’t exactly recognize it.
That being said, the Party part of this party place is good, really good. In fact, if you go to Roy’s, I recommend going right to the bar, ordering up a bunch of their appetizers, couple them with a tasty adult beverage and have at it. It’s a perfect place (and just about the only place) to eat after going to the Laemmle’s Seven in Pasadena.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Like I said. Walk through door. Hang a left at the Hostess, and have a seat at the bar. Order up some drinks and some appetizers, and by appetizers, I really mean the Szechuan Spicy Pork Ribs. Good. Damn good. You won’t get many of them, but they’re good while they’re there. There is other stuff to try, but it is a seafood-heavy menu, limiting my personal options. But I would try out the Honey Mustard Grilled Short Ribs, which comes with Butter Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, and Roy’s Natural Power Sauce (whatever the hell that is). I’m also tempted by the Wagyu Beef Cheeks, which comes with Aerated Polenta, Cippolini Onion, Confit Tomato, Beef Neck Gravy.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: I can only mention the whole go to the bar thing so many times, gentle reader.
641 East Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91101