Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Beach House by Roy YamaguchiRestaurant Insider
August 8, 2021
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
ANNE LEE speaks with Beach House by Roy Yamaguchi general manager BRANDON NAKACHI and executive chef JONATHAN DONOGHUE
Beach House by Roy Yamaguchi is set right on the beach at Kuilima Cove, and the name signifies the type of atmosphere you would expect from a Roy Yamaguchi restaurant.
From the organic ohia hardwood beams to the wooden tables, and comfortable lounge chairs, this location provides a warm, casual setting where locals and visitors can enjoy the award-winning cuisine created by executive chef Jonathan Donoghue.
I sat down with general manager Brandon Nakachi and chef Jonathan, as they shared insight on the restaurant and how its been doing since recently reopening on July 7 and what makes this restaurant truly unique.
AL: How did you get your start in the industry?
BN: It’s hard to pinpoint how long I have been with the Roy’s family, as it’s been a while. I think I started about 17 years ago as a server in Roy’s Hawaii Kai flagship. I also worked at the Roy’s Waikiki. In August 2016, Beach House by Roy Yamaguchi opened, and I have been here ever since.
JD: I moved to Oahu in September 2019 from Boston. I worked at Ming Tsai for about eight years. I grew up working in his kitchen and the first time I came to Oahu was for Roy’s 20th anniversary celebration at KCC and featured a dish with Ming. Coincidentally, I met my wife about a year later when she was working at Ming’s Blue Ginger restaurant, and she was from Kailua. This gave us the opportunity to come to Oahu frequently, and with her grandparents getting older, we decided to move here permanently.
AL: What makes this restaurant stand out from Roy’s other restaurants?
BN: We are mostly an oceanfront outdoor setting. It’s casual, no tablecloths, servers are dressed more casually, which is unique to the Roy’s concept. It is the merger of Roy’s high-end concept and food delivered in a much more casual and comfortable setting. When you come out to the North Shore, guests are looking for poke bowls, garlic shrimp or high-end burgers. There are not that many fine-dining or celebratory type of restaurants out on the North Shore. Roy always says that all guests are important, but the most special guests are the ones that come to dine and celebrate an occasion. We want to make it memorable. Chef Jonathan’s menu provides a lot of local offerings that guests are looking for.
AL: Does the restaurant have a specific motto or mission it runs by?
BN: We embrace a culture of a “yes” attitude. We try to go the extra route to accommodate the requests of our guests and provide alternatives to address their needs. We also like to support local farmers and local products, which is what all his restaurants strive to do.
AL: What are the restaurant ‘s most popular beverages?
JD: We have the BH Signature Infused Martini ($16) made with Maui Gold pineapples, Absolut Vanilla and Malibu rum. This is available at every Roy’s restaurant. The pineapple is infused in a combination of rum and vodka for five days
There’s also the Kula Grown Mai Tai ($15) made with Kula organic white and dark rums, Pierre Ferrand dry curacao and orgeat; and Citrus Frose ($15) with Grey Goose Le Citron, Martini & Rossi sparkling rosé and raspberry.
AL: What are the restaurant’s most popular dishes?
JD: The dishes that I selected are representative of local farmers and local ingredients, as well as a new item. These include the Surf n Turf Banzai Roll ($35) with breaded shrimp, torched filet mignon and truffle-yaki.
Another popular dish is the vegan Falafel Bao ($15) appetizer, featuring homemade falafel, baba ganoush and pickled radish.
Customers also enjoy the Whole Fried Thai Snapper ($52) that’s covered with a tomato, chili wafu sauce, topped with grilled choy sum and garnished with green onion and cilantro.
The new Seared Ora King Salmon ($48) is served with eggplant and tomato caponata, green beans and chili basil oil.
AL: What are the future plans for the restaurant?
JD: Takeout is going to be a large part going forward. How we prepare and package takeout orders, we have to separate the sauces and compartmentalize everything to keep the quality of the food consistent, like they are eating in the dining room.
AL: What do you have in store for the menu?
JD: We try to keep the classics on the menu. Also, in working with local farmers, we hope to have our menu rotate and change out as more items become available. We want the locals that frequent here to have a variety of offerings to choose from, so they can enjoy a new dish, and keep it fresh for them. Being that we are on the North Shore, we do get a lot more vegan/vegetarian requests. We are currently working on doing a prix fixe vegan menu.
AL: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
BN: All of these ohia hardwood trees were harvested to build the villas next door, and the beams and pillars that you see inside the restaurant are from those trees. They were repurposed to use here.