scott -- The reason I recommend Roy's is my recent great experience. I've been to special occasion dinners at the Newport restaurant and was impressed. And recently I went to Roy's in Las Vegas with a relative and her 2 year old son. We didn't know she would be joining our group until the last minute and didn't tell them until we arrived. They were SO great with our little guy. I could hardly believe it. They moved us to a round table and immediately brought him a chef's hat, crayons and paper and a really neat kids appetizer platter. The waiters kept calling him by name and then for dessert he got his own special plate with his name written in chocolate around the edge. I expressed my appreciation to the manager and she indicated that families (the ohana) were very important to Roy's.
It was my birthday, so they made me feel special too. Given how wonderful the food and service was and how they made the it such a special evening for all of us, including the toddler, I don't hesitate to recommend them.
I thought of Dukes and Sandy's too but unfortunately, nothing is getting better at either place. When Sandy's came in, the servers initially gave a little spiel about how guests would receive the "same service quality they get at Dukes." They stopped that quickly because too many locals responded with "I'm sorry to hear that." Both Dukes and Sandy's are OK but not more than OK. Food is formula -- prepared by short order cooks.
Don't expect a window seat at Dukes without some major connections. They never seem to be available no matter when you make your reservation. Service is unremarkable at best.
I've found the best bet at Dukes is the Barefoot Bar for casual food on the street-side patio. Service is friendlier and the food actually better than in the dining room. And at Sandy's, head for the beach-side covered patio at lunch too, when you can watch the surfers and volleyball players at sand level.