The Search for Local Food: Roy’s Restaurant

10 Sep

A few months ago I started doing some research online hoping to find Bay Area restaurants that supported local agriculture and had seasonal menus. One of the restaurants that I found in my search was Roy’s, located in the Soma neighborhood of San Francisco.  With phrases like “a tempting combination of exotic flavors and spices mixed with the freshest of local ingredients” on their website, I was looking forward to seeing what the place had to offer.

Now if I had truly done my research, instead of having just a brief look on their website weeks ago, I would have noticed a couple of things.

  1. Roy’s is a chain with multiple locations in 10 different states.
  2. Their menu is decidedly more exotic than local.

I did not look at the menu until we were seated. The only vegetarian option on the entire menu was a green salad.  When asked, our server (who I will talk about in detail later) presented me with a completely separate menu for vegetarian dishes. I thought it was a bit strange that this menu was not automatically presented, but it was a pretty nice menu.

First, we ordered the Ponzi Pinot Gris from Oregon. A lovely crisp wine that went well with all of our dishes.

For appetizers, we had a very interesting Kobe Beef wrapped around Dynamite Crab, Tempura Asparagus & Avocado and (from the vegetarian menu) a Wild Mushroom and Truffle Risotto. The risotto had shredded shiso leaves which gave it an amazing flavor.

My Entree was the Sea Scallops with Purple Potato Gnocchi and my S.O. got the Monkfish with vegetables in a curry sauce. This is where things got a bit weird. Though visually stunning and cooked to perfection, the flavors of both dishes seemed a bit confused. The scallops were wonderful and the gnocchi as well but they did not seem to work together as well as I had hoped. The monkfish in curry sauce was very nice, but the vegetables seemed to makes no sense at all.

The desert – a chocolate souffle – was wonderful.

The one really good thing I can say about this restaurant was that the service was amazing. Our server immediately told us that he helped with the wine selection and would answer any questions we had about any of their menus. I asked him if they had any local produce, meats or fish. The non “exotic” produce was local, but none of the meat or fish on the menu. I also asked him a couple of times if he could find out what some of the ingredients were and was happy to do so. The staff was very attentive, friendly and professional without being pushy. A+ on that!

So, based on the flavor of dishes, the variety of local food available and the service, I give Roy’s 3 Purkle Stars. I would visit this place again, but not on a regular basis! It is a bit too expensive, too confused and has a high carbon footprint – even for a restaurant.

http://www.roysrestaurant.com/

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