The Islander is located up in Gregoire in the same group of buildings that The Experts (formerly Pizza Experts) and Frontier Dining are located in.
And as you can see they have a lunch buffet. Now I had a hard time deciding if I should do a blog on chinese buffet food. I asked several of my coworkers who more or less pointed out that buffet food isn't the best food that a place would offer. This is very true. You can't argue buffet food would be on the same page as their regular menu, the food is out under heat lamps, being mauled by every hungry customer who wants just a little bit more, just a little bit more. It was actually my brother @daveenwood who said that the point of the blog is to suggest food, so in this case, would I suggest the buffet from The Islander? It was with this sense of understanding what this blog is capable of that I decided that yes, I will try the buffet.
Now if you've never been to the Islander, you'll be almost confused by the decor as the decor in Frontier Dining.. I totally get it's Christmas, and there are lights and what not for being festive, but they also have a huge TV on the end of the bar area with sports on it. Today was Tennis. Now I don't know about you or your Aunt June, but whenever I go to a Chinese restaurant I'm not going to catch up on the latest tennis match. Also green? Is it needed? No. I don't ever envision the person who was moving into this location to pick this decor as the best way to exemplify their vision.
This place was much busier than I anticipated but I am assuming with a buffet most places are busier than they deserve to be. The service was surprisingly not bad considering it was one person manning the whole front end. Some places (frontier dining) could really learn from this. I am not saying tending to patrons is an easy task but it seems like this guy actually puts in an effort and I commend him for it.
Okay anyways, to the food!
It was a fairly typical Chinese layout for a buffet. There was a few soups, about 12 hot dishes and a small selection of desserts. The food was pretty good considering it was a buffet, and the only real complaint I had was the rice was crunchy at times. I don't know if it was because it was over cooked or under cooked. I am not a rice wizard who can magically make rice so I don't know how it's made I can only assume it wasn't cooked to the right level of awesomeness. Can you honestly go wrong with deep fried food? Well in a healthy eating situation yeah but.. still.. One thing that was curiously not on the buffet spread was Chicken balls. I'm not a fan of chicken balls so it wasn't something I was going to frown about but it's still kinda odd. They push chicken balls in every other Chinese place.. but not here I guess.
The highlights on the buffet was the sweet and sour chicken stuff. I would also like to note that the desserts were more or less store bought. This is understandable as well seeing that I've never heard of a Chinese Restaurant specializing in desserts. But guess what, Seriously guess! I'll wait.. Nope you were wrong. They had lime jello! I rocked out on that stuff. Speaking of rocking out. They had quite the eclectic mix playing. Chinese music, and Billy Joel? Don't mind if I do.
When it comes down to it, the food wasn't bad, the place looks pretty messed up they were missing some classic western Chinese staples and they ruined the rice.. I would recommend this place regardless of these mishaps. The price wasn't bad either.
So check it out or don't. I'm on the fence with this experience. I wish I was more decisive. Would I go back again? Yeah probably but it'll be a long long time until I do that again.