Food La La: Roy’s Waikiki offers vegan menu
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Roy’s has been my favorite place for special occasions, so I was very excited to learn about a special vegan prix fixe menu at their Lewers Street restaurant in Waikiki. I visited last week to celebrate my birthday and try it out. I also chatted with executive chef Jason Ichiki to learn about the inspirations behind his vegan dishes.
Chef Ichiki went to culinary school at Leeward Community College and has been at Roy’s for 12 years.
“I love all food, but if I had to choose my favorite vegan dish, I would say anything with tofu in it,” he said. “I could eat tofu everyday as a side dish.”
The vegan prix fixe menu ($43.50) consists of four courses: an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert. The menu is seasonal and changes three to four times a year.
“I get my inspiration for the dishes based on what produce are fresh and in season, through pictures or what I feel like eating at the time,” Ichiki said.
Last week’s starter course was crispy zucchini and pickled cucumbers with a soy reduction, all inside of a bao bun. I love bao buns so much I would eat it just by itself without the usual duck or pork belly in it. The zucchini was hearty and filling. I will order this again the next time I go back since you can order the dishes ala carte.
There are several other vegan dishes on the regular menu that are not part of the prix fixe such as vegan sushi rolls. Ichiki said they try to keep the popular vegan dishes from previous prix fixe menus for returning guests.
The salad course was a refreshing grilled Granny Smith apple salad with hearts of palm, Nalo greens and a wasabi marinade topped with macadamia nut granola. The sweet and crunchy granola balanced nicely with the savory marinade. I like how the dishes here have contrasting flavors, yet go great together. (Ichiki said he plans to change this course soon to a kale and beet salad.)
The entrée was Ichiki’s version of a vegan kalbi, made instead with crispy mochiko tofu, spicy Nalo pickled kimchee daikon and Portobello mushrooms. This dish has both sweet and spicy flavors.
For dessert, the Ginger Coconut Forbidden Black Rice Pudding was unique and delicious. It is served with Chinese 5-spice strussel, crispy Hanalei taro mochi fritters and a tangy pickled Maui pineapple puree.
Did you know Roy’s offers complimentary dessert to guests who celebrate their birthdays at the restaurant? This is coconut gelato by Il Gelato. It was very creamy and had pieces of coconut in it.
As usual, the service was always great and I had a very happy birthday dinner at Roy’s!
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about all things vegetarian for the Pulse. Follow her on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.