Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Island Kicker

The Islander
1201 U Street Northwest
Washington DC

The Islander by some is referred to an old beaten up cruise ship or most recently overhead as, "the island version of Denny's." With its palm tree wall paper and slow service it definitely does have an island feel - not sure it's the kind of island feel one is looking for. Despite all its shortcomings, for some reason I really really like this place. It's not fancy, it's not impressive, it's just funny.

The first time I strolled into this place was randomly on a Friday night when I noticed a live band playing some Motown music that instantly put a smile on my face and folks about 10-20 years older than me dancing their hearts out. When I walked in and sat at the bar, the family owned staff greeted me with a smile. I ordered a rum punch, and it left much to be desired. When the waiter offered to kick it up a notch to something called "The Kicker" it changed everything. The kicker is a drink invented by their bartender Darryl - apparently he's been making them since he was 14 years old (at least that's what he said). Its a ungodly concoction of way too many alcohols with fruit punch. Why would you drink this? Well, there's something about the Islander that puts you in a "why the hell not" mood. I mean, let's stop being pretentious and just have a little fun. Life isn't always about the best of the best, but it's also about a little silliness as well.

The Islander ain't so shabby when it comes to delectable meaty appetizers either. Try their mango chicken wings on for size. They are delicious.

What I love the most about The Islander experience is the reaction of every single one of my friends that I have taken here. Each of them initially displayed looks of confusion, possibly vertigo. They weren't quite sure where they were or why I had taken them here. They felt a bit out of place. Yet sure enough, after half way through their Kicker, they'd turn to me and say..."I love this place!" as they found themselves overwhelmed with laughter and starting to relax.

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