Roy's Channels Genji - New Format Preserves Old Tradition
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
The verdict is in. Genji at Roy's is an undeniable success, and has even garnered approval from die-hard "Teppan-ados". It does seem like a rather odd marriage, the famous Japanese restaurant known for packed teppanyaki counters joined to the open-spaced sophisticated comfort of Roy's. However, it has fulfilled a long-desired craving for Genji's unique Japanese fare and buffet service, something that has been absent from Guam's dining scene since Genji was routed by SuperTyphoon Pongsona over six months ago. Fortunately, it is a happy marriage of convenience, Genji's popular lunch buffet now offers that astonishing daytime Tumon view - something I always felt was under appreciated with Roy's former hours.
Naturally, some significant concessions have been made, such as the teppan cooking, which takes place in Roy's kitchen and not in the dining area. Also, there is no live cooking station in the buffet line - something that lent spontaneity and visibility to the kakiyagi (seafood/vegetable fritter) and karaagi (chicken) that are now fried in the kitchen and transported to warmers. Yes, there are those who will miss the "thrill of the grill", however, I can honestly say that for lunchtime I prefer not to be grease-laden for my afternoon appointments! That's something no one misses!
The elaborate appetizer buffet is a dazzling presentation offering a selection of sushi and fresh sashimi. A line cook prepares some of the sushi rolls by hand. The adored California roll is available - ask for it to be made to savor it at its prime. I helped myself to poki, a colorful tomato salad, udon noodles, kakiyagi and karaagi, as well as the requisite sauces. All ingredients are available for you to mix your own dipping sauces for the appetizers. Truthfully, one can fill up on the appetizer selection...it's a lot of food so you really need to come hungry.
Genji at Roy's lunch menu has several main course selections. Prices start at $18.50 for a single Chicken Teppanyaki or Chicken Teriyaki dish and go up to $24.50 for the Teppanyaki Combo (Salmon, Sirloin, Squid, Chicken & Shrimp) and the Bento Box (Shokado Style Bento Box; Tempura, Grilled Eel, Egg Cake, & Grilled Fish) so this is not an inexpensive lunch but, of course, you have unlimited access to the buffets. I opted for the Teppanyaki Combo, which was delivered in a black lacquer bento box set, with bowls filled with each food type. The squid was awesome, sliced and grilled in little circles and mixed in with the shrimp and a large piece of salmon. The Grilled Sirloin and Chicken were in separate bowls with the sirloin cooked to specification. I didn't remember to ask for more garlic - it's something I do when at a Teppan counter, and I tell the chef to grill up some garlic with my meat. The vegetables were grilled, with a portion size appropriate for this combo dish.
Genji at Roy's wait and service staff is on-the-ball and knowledgeable, refilling my ice tea and able to answer questions on the food. My server explained the different dipping sauces that come with the teppan orders. These are the Ponzu, BBQ Chili, and Miso sauces, with each adding special flavors to either meats or vegetables when dipped. With the steamed rice and miso soup bowl, the meal would seem to be complete. However, in true Hilton fashion, no meal is over until you have helped yourself to the dessert bar! This features a selection of homemade pastries, on this day they offered a delicately rich tiramisu, two ice creams, cheesecake with fresh blackberries, and a fresh fruit tray.
Genji at Roy's is quite relaxing, really offering a leisurely dining experience you couldn't get at the original Genji since you didn't have the ocean views nor could you hear the background music, which helps define the moment at Roy's. The plaintive plucks of the koto as well as classical guitar sounds further elevates a consciousness that has already been raised by the stimulating food creations. Genji at Roy's is proof that the sum of the two equals more than the strengths of either alone, with the result being a masterful lunch adventure that engages all senses.