|Aloha Hour at Roy's - Fresh Hawaiian Specialty Cocktails are $5 each!|
Even better, nirvana, in fact, is when each and every item we sample is spot on super-fabulous. The highlight of last week was just such an experience - courtesy of the fine folks at Roy's in Jacksonville Beach.
General Manager JP Diedrich and Chef Patrick "Opie" Crooks made us feel like a couple of culinary queens as they treated us to a taste of Aloha - samples of every dish on their Aloha Hour menu - specialty cocktails, glasses of featured wines and menu items for just $5 each - served Sunday through Friday 4:30pm - 6:30pm in their bar. My thanks to them, the amazing Jodi behind the bar, and the whole Roy's crew for a great, dare I say even glamorous experience! From the minute the invite came, we were hotly anticipating the event - in large part because two of the items feature one of our favorite ingredients - the humble LOBSTER. Yes, it deserves all caps.
LOBSTER California Roll sounds sweet and luscious - and it is just that. Beautiful little rolls of sweet chilled LOBSTER filling, smooth avocado, the cool crunch of cucumber - the textures combine to create a great little bite. As is true of most of the items in this post, but let's just say this once, this and a cocktail would make a great light meal.
HOWEVER - you might want to go with both sushi offerings on the Aloha Hour menu - just to experience the great contrast in texture and tastes.
The Tempura Crusted Ahi Roll is so rich - still slightly warm from the fryer - the soft, savory crunch of the crust and the sweet sticky rice, the richness of the Miso butter sauce - I'm looking at my watch right now and wishing it were closer to Aloha Hour.
|Crunchy Golden Lobster Potstickers, Togarashi Miso Butter|
(fancy culinary speak for fried) Calamari surprised us both with its light, tender texture and the savory, citrusy sauce that just coats it without collapsing those lovely crunchy rings. It was billed as "Unique Hawaiian Fusion Sauce" so naturally we were compelled to ask for details.
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. I was more than pleased with the result but I won't be attempting to recreate it at home any time soon, since I can just pop in to Roy's at Aloha Hour and get more!
|Roy's Exhibition Kitchen - it's like porn for foodies!|
Our knowledgeable bar manager Jodi (I didn't get her card, so I don't know if I'm spelling her name right) walked us through most of the preparations and suggested pairings from the extensive wine and specialty cocktail list. Indulgent offerings, yes. Expensive? Not during Aloha Hour! At just $5 each, most of the specialty drinks are more than half-off from 4:30 - 6:30 pm. I'm seriously putting Roy's on the rotation for at least a weekly pop-in.
|Szechuan Grilled Beef Tenderloin Skewers, Kim Chee|
Roy's Szechuan Grilled Beef Tenderloin Skewers rest on a little pile of freshly prepared Kim Chee - and the meat is some of the tenderest tenderloin you'll ever taste. Savory and sweet from the light glaze, they are complimented by the peppery-hot-salty-tangy bites of Kim Chee. I'm thinking a robust red wine or a craft beer would make a great pairing here. I polished it off with a Pomegranate Patrón Mojito - Tangy pomegranate shaken with Patrón Silver Tequila and mint.
|Wagyu Beef Sliders with Garlic Sweet Potato Fries|
Well, what's left to say about the whole Aloha Hour experience? Just get there and get yourself to a happy place. Don't worry about trying to choose the right thing - they are all good - or as Jodi put it - "there's not a clunker in the bunch." It had been a while since I've been to Roy's, despite the fact that I live close by. Yet always in the back of my mind lurked the pleasant memory of Roy’s Original Hawaiian Martini - with those luscious infused Maui pineapples, SKYY Vodka, Stoli Vanil and Malibu Coconut Rum. The Aloha Hour menu will keep me coming back.
Treat yourself to a taste of Aloha soon, and say Aloha to your friendly neighborhood blogger-chick if you see me in there sipping and munching away - and you will.
2400 3rd St S
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250