Hankering for the Hawaii of his childhood memories, though, heuprooted from L.A. and moved to Honolulu, opening Roy's in lateDecember 1988. The splash traveled all the way to the mainland.When they tasted dishes such as teri-glazed Hudson Valley duckbreast in poha berry reduction, and Kahana-style Hawaiian swordfishwith chutney and red Thai curry, critics suddenly decided they weregaga over this East-West fusion thing. In 1992, Yama-guchi jumpedover to Maui for his second venture, Roy's Kahana Bar & Grill.A year later, he became the first Hawaiian chef to pick up a JamesBeard Award.
Today, there's a whole constellation of Roy's restaurants, fromPebble Beach to Baltimore, offering meals of baked dynamitescallops in garlic-chiso sauce, nori-charred salmon in green teabroth, and Mongolian-grilled lamb chops with shiitake dumplings.And while the most recent Roy's opened this summer in JacksonvilleBeach, the original Roy's on Oahu is still the jewel in thecrown.
With his name in lights from Tokyo to Tampa, does Roy ever feellike just coasting? Not a chance. "We start each day as if we haveto prove ourselves all over again," he says,smiling.
Rex Hill Pinot Gris
Reserve Oregon 2002 ($18)
With his roasted macadamia nut mahi-mahi with lobster cognac buttersauce, Yamaguchi suggests this complex Pinot Gris.