Best Pupu Platter - 2004
The best part of any tiki-accented soiree is those barbecued, coconut-coated nibbles that go so well with your third Mai Tai. Yet many island-themed venues settle for heavy, greasy appetizers that lack that old Polynesian zest and undermine the whole pupu zeitgeist to boot. Roy's, one of a nationwide chain of high-class fusion-Hawaiian restaurants, puts the pepper back in the pupu. Its Canoe Appetizer for Two is like a really classy luau in miniature. Among the treats arrayed on ti leaves and brought to your table are sweetly skewered prawns with a wasabi-edged cocktail sauce; spicy, smoky baby-back ribs; shrimp-stuffed wontons on a bed of peppery salsa; an exquisite ahi-avocado sushi roll; and meaty blue crab cakes with kimchi and a tangy sesame dipping sauce. Additional, a la carte pupus include hamachi tartare with capers and Maui onion, and yellowfin poke with avocado, sour cream, and caviar; they taste even better with a tropical treat from the bar ... another Mai Tai, perhaps, or the Hawaiian martini with vanilla Stoli and pineapple-infused coconut rum. This is a luau, after all.