Baltimore Restaurant Week is supposed to provide common folk like myself with the rare opportunity to dine like those in a higher tax bracket. Every time it rolls around, my girlfriend and I attempt to taste something expensive and new for a more reasonable price. Last time didn’t work out so well when we tried to go to Ruth’s Chris and there was a carbon monoxide leak. The way the establishment handled the cancellation of our reservations was less than satisfactory and to make a long story short, we will never attempt to dine there again. But this time around, Baltimore Restaurant Week was good to us. Why? Because we went to Roy’s Restaurant, and this establishment delivered with amazing service and delectable food.
Pulling up to the restaurant 15 minutes early, we were greeted by the valet service, which was very courteous and took care of us promptly. We strode up to the host desk and were seated immediately. This is where two gripes come into play. First off, the room we were seated in was very loud. The layout and the high ceilings created horrible acoustics. Secondly, we were served a starter of edamame in the pods with a special spicy seasoning. Not to say the edamame was bad, because it was quite delicious. The main complaint here is that the spiciness of the seasoning has the ability to skew your taste buds for an appetizer that may be a bit more on the mild side. This is what may have happened with our appetizer. It was a sampler of a grilled shrimp, spare rib and a pot sticker, all of which tasted decent, but were a bit dumbed down in taste because of the edamame spices.
Throughout the night, the wait staff attended to our every need and kept us in awe of their communication with one another to work together as a well-oiled machine. The main entrée we chose was Mahi Mahi encrusted with macadamia nuts, laid atop roasted potatoes and asparagus and accompanied by lobster cream sauce on the side. This course shined. The asparagus and potatoes were tender and tasty, while the fish was light and flaky. The macadamia nuts complimented the light subtle flavor of the Mahi Mahi perfectly, adding just enough nuttiness without overpowering the meat itself. Meanwhile, the lobster cream sauce presented a great hint of lobster flavor with a buttery consistency.
By the time dessert rolled around, both of us needed just a little something to cap off the meal. In the case of the chocolate truffle bombe, the portion was excellently sized and the chocolate flavor mixed with the vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce was enough to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. The bill came quickly enough after and we were on our way after being at the restaurant for just under 45 minutes.
Roy’s Restaurant was smart about Baltimore Restaurant Week by using a menu that was quick to make, but delicious at the same time. This, combined with their outstanding wait staff, made it easy for them to get diners in and out in just enough time to accommodate more, but not have the customers feel rushed.
Aside from the choice of serving the spicy edamame to everyone as soon as they sit down, my only other complaint comes from wine pricing and beer availability. As per usual, the mark-up on wines are through the roof. One “glass” of Brancott Sauvignon Blanc, which was more like half a glass, cost $10. Meanwhile, you can purchase an entire bottle of the same wine for $11.99 at most liquor stores. My estimate is that the liquor store makes around $3 on the bottle of wine, while Roy’s makes somewhere around $80. This is why I always recommend people wait until after dinner to drink wine. Just pick up your own and save some money.
My other problem was the beer selection at Roy’s. With the microbrew revolution in full swing, many people are starting to treat beer like wine. Roy’s has a nice and extensive wine selection, but a skimpy and unimpressive beer selection. The extent of microbrews available was Sam Adams’ Summer Ale. I, as well as other serious beer drinkers, would like to see restaurants take beer a bit more seriously. You can’t just serve Budweiser, Miller and Coors and think you’ve taken care of the beer drinker demographic.
Alcohol issues aside, the Roy’s Restaurant experience was excellent. I would recommend it to anyone with a bunch of cash to spend, or common folk like myself during Baltimore Restaurant Week.