by Janet Miller
My neighbor is the executive chef for Roy’s Restaurant in Po`ipu, on Kaua`i’s sunny south side.
She’s very grateful that I take care of her two sweet dogs while she works her 14-hour days.
We got to talking one day about some of her specialty dishes and all the other fabulous fare on the menu. She suggested, “Why don’t you and your husband come out and have dinner there one of these evenings?”
“OK,” I said. “Let me see if I can get a home equity loan and we’ll do that!”
She replied, “No — you would be my guests.”
“OK, we’d be delighted!” was my response. “How about Saturday?”
Chef Mel smiled and assured me that she would take care of everything, including the reservations. She asked me if there is anything that we don’t like or are allergic to. Since I truly enjoy food in every form, I told her that we would be totally in her culinary hands.
“Surprise us!” I said.
My husband Joe and I took showers and put on some of the better clothes from the back section of the closet for the occasion. We showed up as the restaurant opened.
Elegantly dressed Leah asked if we had a reservation. As I began to explain that Chef Mel made the arrangements, Leah nearly snapped to attention, and gushed, “Oh, you’re Mrs. Miller! Come right this way!” and showed us to a perfectly situated table.
Our ultra-professional server, Mikey, appeared out of nowhere, introduced himself, plucked my napkin from the table, flapped it with a flourish to unfold it and floated it onto my lap.
Mikey suggested that I start off with a “top shelf Mai tai,” of which I happily partook. I don’t know why they keep them on the top shelf, but it was tasty.
The first thing Chef Mel sent out to our table was a platter of four different kinds of appetizers. I would have called them BBQ ribs, ravioli, pot stickers and shrimp on a stick, but Roy knows them by the more fitting designations: Mongolian ribs, Seafood moon ravioli, Kalbi beef gyozas and seared shrimp sticks. They were divine. Mikey knew every ingredient and described each one.
My entrée came out next — a seafood combination with sauces that were orgasmic. It was all I could do to not pick up the plate and lick it clean.
Joe’s entrée was a prime rib with another heavenly sauce.
Finally, the dessert chef, Karen, honored us with four sweet masterpieces: roasted banana creme brulee, chocolate soufflé, pineapple upside-down cake and apple volcano. She wrote in chocolate syrup around the edge of the platter, “Aloha Janet and Joe.” That, too, was delicious.
Joe and I could not have been treated more royally. But, as I glanced around, I could see that everyone was being served just as well as we were… except for when Chef Mel, in her formal “whites” came out to our table to ask us if everything was to our satisfaction. Robin, the assistant manager, joined her.
The woman at the next table kept eyeing us, trying to determine what kind of VIPs we were. As we stood to leave, Joe leaned over to her, nodded in my direction, and whispered, “Meryl Streep.”
Janet Miller has a desire to eventually touch every life on Kaua’i in a positive way. Read her columns online at forkauaionline.com on the seventh day of every month.