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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Islands Restaurant - New in Newbury Park

Today Ashley and I visited the newest Islands location in Newbury Park, California. We really enjoy Islands and were happy to see this one being built right off of Wendy Drive and Highway 101 in Newbury Park. It has been open for a couple of weeks and this was our first opportunity to try it out.

We purposely are not too hard on a restaurant in the first weeks of its opening. This is because there are a number of things going on as a mix of a new location, new staff, and many new patrons in play. Sometimes these kinks take a month or so to work out. For restaurants that have been open for awhile, they do not get the same breaks.

Overall the visit was positive. We both ordered our favorite -- the Maui Burger and we also split a basket of fries with a couple of passion fruit ice teas. The meals were up-to-par with other Islands restaurants, which is really good news for this early upon opening.

The atmosphere was typical of any Islands restaunts. A very Islander (Hawaiian) feel with a lot of TVs playing surfing and other extreme sport videos. There are a couple of issues in the layout of the restaurant to be noted. The first is there are a couple of very high traffic areas due to the design, we happended to be sitting in one of them. The other was that there is only one route to the restroom. If you attempt to walk through the bar or via the most likely direct route, you will end up in the kitchen!

In terms of service, it can still be improved. It took several minutes for a server to get to us, and then the server that took our drink and and food order was not our normal server. Not generally a problem, but we noticed that the server for our section was also serving a table of co-workers. The server spent more time than they should have chatting with their friends, but eventually made there way over. Then, that server to a break and the "breaker" as they are known as did an excellent job.

Overall, the new Islands is worth a visit -- even while they still work out the kinks in their service and teamwork. And as always, the food is excellent!