This week is Baltimore City's 2018 Winter Restaurant Week. We love Restaurant Week because it gives us a chance to try new places at better prices. You can read more about the different Maryland Restaurant Week Events in my earlier post here.
We chose Roy's Restaurant in Baltimore's Harbor East for our Baltimore City Restaurant Week date night. Roy's was established in 1988 and started by Roy Yamaguchi in Honolulu, Hawaii. There are now 17 locations across the U.S. Roy's has been on our bucket list since our trip to Maui, Hawaii in 2014. We wanted to visit the Maui location while we were in Hawaii, but we didn't make it there. We were there on a business trip (nice perk!) and our free time was limited. But we finally made it to Roy's this week, 16 years after they opened in Baltimore in 2001!
We had been exploring Baltimore for the day and I knew we'd skip lunch, so I booked an early-bird reservation at Roy's for 5:45pm. I always use Open Table to book our reservations when possible and the 5:45pm timeslot offered 1,000 rewards points. 1,000 points?! Yes! Sign me up!
If you aren't familiar with Open Table, it's an online reservation booking site that offers dining rewards points for all of your reservations. Points rack up and you can cash them out for a dining check to spend at any other participating Open Table restaurant. So, if you are going to dine out anyway, check to see if you can reserve through Open Table to earn the points! Not all restaurants participate, but most do.
We typically dine later on date night, but the 5:45pm timeslot was actually quite nice. We practically had the restaurant to ourselves which allowed for a nice intimate dinner. And By 7:15pm when we were ordering dessert, the place was packed!!
Get there early to have a drink at the beautiful wood bar. Hubby said the bartender was heavy handed, but his rye manhattan was delish! Craft beer snobs beware...they have nothing at all on draft and a limited craft selection.
For sushi lovers, take a seat at the sushi bar.
For Restaurant Week, they were offering a three course prix-fixe menu. There was a good variety and something for everyone.
For appetizers, I chose the Crab Rangoon with Pineapple Lemon Sweet and Sour Sauce and hubby chose the Wedge Salad. Both were good, but in hindsight we both wished we had tried the carrot and cauliflower soup with brown butter and tarragon because it was so different.
For the main course, I went with the Half Roasted Chicken with Blackened Rustic Mashed Potatoes and Bacon Pepper Gravy which can be found on their regular menu. The chicken was cooked perfectly! So tender and most. With the gravy, it was the perfect amount of spicy. My favorite part of the dish was the roasted carrots and mashed potatoes. They were D.E.L.I.S.H.!
My husband ordered the Braised Lamb Shank with Polenta and Brocolini with a Blackberry Hoisin sauce. He said the lamb was a very generous portion and again cooked perfectly. He liked it, but thought the blackberry hoisin sauce was a little too sweet and he wished they had drained it to remove the blackberry seeds.
I was looking forward to dishes packed full of flavor and Roy's delivered in the desserts! I chose the Lolikoi Crème Brulee and my husband, Sean (you should really know his name now after he has been mentioned so many times in this post!), ordered the Banana Bread Pudding.
The Lilikoi Crème Brulee was really different, but was both of our favorite dishes of the night! It didn't even taste like Crème Brulee, but was really fantastic. The passionfruit made my mouth water. The flavor was so strong it lingered after each bite and was just the right amount of sweet vs. tart. I almost didn't try the bruleed garnish on top, but I am glad I did, I was delighted to find that it was a thin almond cookie.
The Banana Bread Pudding was incredible! Sean said he would definitely order again. It was soooo smooth and tasted like Grandma's best Banana Bread recipe, only better!
Although it's technically a chain restaurant now that there are so many locations across the U.S., it did not feel like a chain. We had great service, which continued after the restaurant had filled up. It felt intimate and warm. The manager checked in with each table which was a nice touch.
We'd definitely go back, only we would skip Restaurant Week for two reasons:
1. To try some of the more interesting/unique flavors on the regular menu
2. Because they offer a three course prix fixe menu on Sunday and Monday nights for either $36.95 or $46.95. This makes Restaurant Week not the best value. The Sunday/Monday prix-fixe menu offers your choice of their cold or hot appetizer, choice of main course, and choice of dessert from the full menu. A super deal.
We'll definitely return for Sunday-Funday!
Are you from Baltimore? I'd love to hear about your favorite restaurants and things to do.