One sip of my Original Hawaiian Martini told me precisely where I was—smack dab in the middle of paradise!  The sweetness of pineapple, the aromatic hint of vanilla, the essence of coconut rum mingled with Skyy Vodka put me in major vacation mode and reminded me of some of my favorite tropical cruises as I scrutinized the menu of Roy’s in Rancho Mirage.

Part of the empire begun on Oahu by James Beard Award-winning chef Roy Yamaguchi 23 years ago, the chain of 31 restaurants on the mainland United States, Hawaii, Japan, and Guam is now operated by OSI Restaurant Partners.  The eateries boast “Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine,” where European techniques and Asian gastronomy meet Hawaiian hospitality.

My taste always tends to Roy’s—whose evenings are masterfully orchestrated by Managing Partner Kameron Luyt—for a special celebration, or just as an excuse to make any meal an occasion.  On my last visit, my dining companion started off with a Pepper Melon Margarita, a concoction that scintillatingly pairs jalapenos and watermelon.  Our cocktails were perfect accompaniments for appetizers of Crispy “Kung Pao” Calamari and the most amazing Grilled Szechuan Spiced Pork Ribs that will ever pass your lips.

I eat everything—from “rabbit to rattlesnake,” as I like to say—but for me, fish is the dish of choice at Roy’s.  Yes, the meats are amazing, but I love Chef Partner Charles Andres’ preparations that involve my knowing that what’s on my plate was swimming in the sea mere hours before being put on a plane and flown to the desert for my delight.  Roy’s Trio—a perfect sampling of Hibachi Salmon, Macadamia Nut Mahi Mahi, and Misoyaki Butterfish—did not disappoint on my most recent night.  We paired it with Roy’s Original Hawaiian Blackened Island Ahi and a side order of the Macadamia Nut Pesto Risotto.  Follow our expert lead and you will weep very happy tears.

If you’re still hungry—I never am, but that seldom stops me—there’s a selection of desserts that will blow away your sweet teeth.  The Dark Chocolate Soufflé and the Pineapple Upside Down Cake (with housemade coconut ice cream) were made for each other—and for you.  Aloha!