Adventures in Dining

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Roy’s on West Sand Lake, Orlando June 9, 2007

Filed under: Sand Lake — hpandaw @ 12:51 am

We dined at Roy’s on West Sand Lake Road (near I-Drive) for the first time this February, and it was OUTSTANDING. I would highly recommend it for someone looking for fresh, delicious seafood. I have to say that, having been to California Grill, Flying Fish, and Narcoossees (Disney restaurants) many times, they were blown out of the water by Roy’s for freshness of the seafood offerings as well as prompt, friendly service.

Reservations are strongly recommended; we ate there on a Saturday night, and a couple walked in behind us and were told it was a 3 hour wait without reservations. Yikes…

Instead of bringing bread, our server started us off with edamame beans topped with sea salt. These were light, and were a nice change for us. I am the type of person who LOVES bread, so I tend to fill up on that, and these prevented us from doing so.

On the recommendation of our server, we started with the lobster potstickers. These were quite good, though not extremely memorable. They were flavorful, and full of lobster pieces mixed with fish, but were a bit greasy for me. We both enjoyed the spicy togarashi miso butter sauce that came with these, and it wasn’t too spicy at all, even for my sensitive palate!

We are pescatarians, so we enjoyed the wide range of seafood available here. Our server recommended the blackened ahi tuna, but there were so many choices! My husband ended up ordering the mahi mahi, which is the signature dish, and I ordered a 3-dish sampler platter whose exact name escapes me.

The mahi mahi was a little dry, but that was more than made up for by the Maine lobster butter sauce. It had a slight crab boil taste to it, and even the red potatoes that accompanied this dish had absorbed the flavor. My husband, who rarely eats potatoes, practically licked his plate clean. He said that the mashed potatoes under the asparagus were a nice touch, and he wished that there had been more of them. It is difficult to sauce a fish well, and this one was superbly sauced.

The 3-item sampler that I ordered had a 2-ounce portion each of the Hawaiian style misoyaki butterfish with sizzling soy vinaigrette, the hibachi style grilled salmon filet with a citrus ponzu sauce and sticky rice, and the blackened island ahi with spicy soy mustard butter.

The butterfish was amazing; it was so tender and moist, and just came apart with my fork. The sauce with this was slightly sweet, but was offset by the minced tomatoes and onions topping the butterfish. I enjoyed the soft, tender butterfish, especially contrasted with the small pieces of crisp onion. This was my second favorite of the three fish, though it was only slightly ahead of the salmon.

The grilled salmon was my least favorite of the three, but it was still absolutely delicious. Again, it was moist and flavorful; the wood grilling had imparted such a lovely flavor to the fish that I enjoyed it very much. I only put it down third because the sauce was just a bit too sweet for my taste. The sticky rice that accompanied this was just unpleasant. It was too sweet and gingery for me, so I didn’t eat it.

The best was the blackened ahi tuna, and I have to say, this is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. I couldn’t stop raving about it. It was served raw, just slightly seared, and it was seasoned perfectly. It was such good quality fish, and so fresh – the server said that they fly in a shipment every morning, and that the fish had been alive the night before. The quality and freshness showed; it was so tender and flavorful that it just melted in my mouth. I hadn’t ordered this alone as my entree, despite the server’s recommendation, because I usually don’t care for tuna, and I don’t like mustard at all. This dish made a believer out of me. It was served with 2 strengths of the sauce: mild and spicy. The spicy sauce was too much for me, but the mild one was great, and complimented the tuna beautifully. I cannot say enough good things about this dish.
From left to right: tuna, salmon, and butterfish:

For dessert, we shared the melting hot chocolate souffle, which was served with a side of vanilla ice cream and a raspberry coulis. This was amazing, so rich, and the melted chocolate center was lovely. It was almost identical to the chocolate lava cake at the California Grill, and it was so rich that I was glad we’d decided to share it.

We were seated in the quiet room, off to the side, which was wonderful since we had wanted a romantic evening out. The main room seemed like it could get a bit loud, with the bar and show kitchen there. We decided, though, that when we return, we will ask to be seated at the kitchen counter, so that we can watch the chefs in action. My husband loves to cook, and that is the kind of experience he would enjoy.

I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who is a seafood fan; for freshness and quality within its price category, this restaurant is amazing. I only qualify it by price category, because it’s not in the 5 diamond category like Victoria & Albert’s, but I would venture to say that the tuna at Roy’s rivals anything I’ve eaten at V&A’s. They also offer a 3-course prix fixe menu for $33, which is quite a good deal.


One Response to “Roy’s on West Sand Lake, Orlando”

  1. […] relatively simple to make, and would have turned this from a mediocre dish into a very good one.  Roy’s on West Sand Lake serves a piece of tuna with a spicy soy mustard butter sauce that is smashing.  […]

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