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Roys San Diego

333 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, 92101 - 7709, United States

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Roy's is one branch of a growing chain of restaurants that originated in Honolulu, Hawaii. Roy Yamaguchi was born in Tokyo (1956) but spent most of his adult life in the USA. He set up a restaurant in 1988 in Hawaii after a stint in Los Angeles. His initial success in Hawaii has led to over 30 outlets and frequent TV appearances. The general theme is seafood, with some general fusion influences. This branch overlooks the harbour, and can accommodate 130 diners, with a nice terrace which must get plenty of use given the superb climate of San Diego.

Blackened (really just seared) ahi tuna i.e. yellowfin tuna  ($13) was served as a series of small, thin slices in a log shape, with a surprisingly spicy spiced soy butter mustard sauce. The tuna was fine and mustard was, if anything, too strong, which I was not expecting; this was served with pickled ginger (12/20).

Butterfish mizoyaki (similar to teriyaki, where the fish is marinated in a miso sauce) was served with a spicy soy vinaigrette, and a bed of rice with a little bak choi on the side ($28). The fish had a softened texture from the marinade and a slightly sweet taste, and the dish could have been improved by an acidic element to balance the sweetness (12/20).

Chocolate soufflé was very pleasant indeed, with a liquid chocolate centre like a chocolate fondant, though the outside was a fraction firm (13/20). Service was fine. Although this was a chain, the standard of cooking was pretty good, with no real technical problems. I ate in the original Roy's in Honolulu in 1992, and although that experience was better than this, the general effect is replicated pretty well. Certainly this is a good dining option in this part of San Diego, where competent restaurants are as rare as hen's teeth.

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