Tasty Discoveries at Tony Roma's
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
One thing I've learned is you can't always take things for granted...take Tony Roma's, for example, one of my recent re-discoveries! This famous restaurant chain has truly progressed since its beginning in 1972. Always famous for its ribs, Tony Roma's service a variety of other items from Seafood, (how's "All Fished Out of Luck" for the name of its daily catch?), Flamed Shrimp on a Skewer to several chicken preparations, to an assortment of salads (Caesar, Chef's, Santa Fe, Fresh Seafood & tossed), and a list of Combo items longer than your arm! It was one of those combo items that I had for lunch one day recently that compelled me to write this article!
If you can't decide which grilled rib items to try (this section not for vegetarians), go for the "Tony Roma's Star-Studded Sampler". To be honest, I've had this entree before at the previous Tony Roma's two locations, but not here at the Royal Orchid Hotel restaurant (its remaining Guam location). I thought the sampler was "good" then, but I didn't rave about it...until now! Why? They've improved and enhanced their rib selection by introducing two terrific new types of St Louis-Style ribs I'd not yet tried, though they've been on the menu for almost a year!
The Tony Roma's Red Hots are "a zesty blend of chili pepper, black pepper, crushed red peppers, chipotle peppers (smoked, ripe jalapenos) and real Tobasco sauce sure to fire up your taste buds." I didn't find them that hot, though you definitely know your getting your quota of spices! These were just plain tasty and should be very popular among our local diners who love zesty ribs.
The Sampler also included the Carolina Honeys, Original Baby Back, and Bountiful Beef Ribs. The Carolina Honeys are a "mellow blend of real honey and molasses." They are certainly not overly sweet, and are balanced with a sauce that makes these a palate-pleasing selection. Of course, when you have the Original Baby Backs, it's a walk down taste bud "memory lane!" This legendary tangy sauce still has the same unique and special appeal that made this restaurant famous...spicy, savory, with just-plain lip-smacking goodness, these ribs will always be great. The same original barbeque sauce is used on the Bountiful Beef Ribs. They are called Bountiful because the cows they used were giants! This is one of those rare experiences when I can roll my sleeves up a revert to my "caveman" days (fortunately, Tony Roma's great staff is very discreet and understanding). In fact, it's considered "bad form" to use a fork and knife. I must warn you that this Bountiful Beef rib is a two-handed affair, and because the beef is tender, it comes right off the bone and is satisfying enough to please a hungry Texan! The Sampler's price is $17.95 (and includes a doggie bag if you need one!).
I did try a really good appetizer, the Spinach Artichoke Dip ($5.25), which is a delightful blend of Parmesan, Provolone and Cream cheese, melted together and mixed with spinach and artichoke. Just perfect with tortilla chips and salsa, if you want, for dipping. They'll even give you sour cream...just don't tell them you're dieting! Next time I'll try a new item, the Roma's Shrimp Cocktail, which has chilled tiger shrimp served with their original homemade cocktail sauce ($7.50). There are many more items on their expanded menu, from Chicken Sandwiches to a quartet of burgers, to some dessert specials that'll tickle your sweet tooth (they're supposed to have an awesome Mud Pie!)
Tony Roma's is more than just a place for Ribs, though one has to give them credit for making them famous all over the world!