NEW JAPANESE GLOBAL TASTING MENU AT ROY’S
Updated: Apr 23, 2019
by Andrew Chalk
The lifespan of the average Dallas restaurant is just slightly longer than that of the average mayfly. The percentage that can point to 17 years in business is tiny. One of those long-term survivors is Roy’s in Plano. Staying strong through the ups and downs in the economy is the result of alert hands-on management. As a case in point, Manager Mike Hurst and most of the staff, both front and back of house, have worked there for years. And the restaurant tweaks the menu periodically to keep its offering fresh and reflect changes in public taste.
The latest special menu is the ‘Global Tasting Menu Creative Japan’. I was fortunate enough to sample it at a media event this week and chat with executive chef John Sikhattana.
The Japan menu is a 3-course prix-fixe offering two choices for each course. The items in each course exhibit the eclectic mashup of Asian and western influences that are a hallmark of Roy Yamaguchi’s Pacific Rim cuisine. For example, one of the appetizers is a steamed short rib and mushroom dumpling. Chinese or Japanese? Pacific Rim is both, and an open mind let’s you enjoy each dish in its own right. This dim sum, served in a caramelized onion soy jus was actually irresistible. Without a trace of starchiness in the casing and enriched with umami flavors from the soy imbued them with a satisfying quality that left us craving for more.
The other appetizer choice is a familiar crowd pleaser. Hamachi sashimi is folded against a mound of lettuce and flanked with grapefruit segments juxtaposed against a parade of ponzu gel dollops offering citric highlights. While the menu offered jalapeño powder our example had thin jalapeño slices that, despite their size, packed some punch. Strands of fresh limu (hawaiian seaweed) strewn over the plate brought a touch of color.
My first entrée was a memorable take on the humble pork chop. Served with a mongolian glaze hoisin sauce, honey, chilies, garlic and ginger bedded on wasabi mashed potatoes aside a shaft of bok choy braised to perfect tenderness (a preparation I have since appropriated in home cooking). It was surrounded by a little demi-glace to make a heartwarming dish for a cold March evening. Most remarkable was the tenderness of the meat. Sikhattana spilled the beans -- sous vide the pork.
The other entrée will please fish lovers. Perfectly seared salmon served with hon shimeji mushrooms and edamame beans with nori vinaigrette. I did not check but I suspect this was a sous vide preparation as well.
The one dessert on the menu is a yuzu curd with coconut dacquoise, coconut foam and mint granita, all served in a mini mason jar. It fits the bill as the indulgent sweet dessert. Look for the cake-like dacquoise as you dig into the jar for a change in texture and touch of opulence.
Our satisfying meal was accompanied with wine from the by-the-glass selections. Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc ($12) from New Zealand. An excellent crisp match with the hamachi and the salmon. And Pinot Noir in the form of ‘Lyric’ by Etude ($26), a Santa Barbara County winery. It was a good match with that dependence-inducing pork chop.
In case you are skeptical that three courses is enough, we took some dessert home. At $35 per head (plus tax and tip) the Japan menu is good value.
Update: This was a media event.