In my 4-plus years in LA, I'd never been to Islands, the ubiquitous chain restaurant that seems to be on every commercial corner of LA County. And I was curious. Well, I was as curious as a vegetarian could be about what is essentially a spruced up burger joint. And then yesterday--stuck at an event set-up at the Westside Pavilion, where the food choices range from grody Panda Express to pricey Westside Tavern with nothing in between--I took a walk and gave in to Islands.
Here is what I noticed...
The food--it's not very good. At least not for a vegetarian on a diet.
The options--they do offer smaller, more affordable portions of menu items. Like unlimited chips and salsa for under two bucks. And single portion desserts. That's cool. I respect you, Islands, for that.
The information overload--With the menus on your table, Islands offers a Nutritional Data sheet for your review. Eating alone, I had the time to read through this. The Chocolate Lava dessert has 1440 calories. Which is almost as bad as the Kilauea Burger which comes in at a whopping 1600 calories. Well, thank you Islands for offering me great sounding menu items and then telling me they're pretty much going to kill me. Super appetizing.
The B.S. name--Islands is perhaps the most misleading restaurant name I've ever been bamboozled by. There were no cool breezes. There were no attractive shirtless men in leis. And I'm positive--well, nearly positive--that burgers are not the staple diet on any island I've ever heard of. At no point during my meal did I think, 'hey, I could totally be in Maui right now.' I was completely and totally aware for the entirety of my bad salad that I was in a mediocre burger restaurant. In West LA. And for that, I blame Islands.