Domenico's has been around for longer than I've been alive, as evidenced by the dark and dated decor. I'd like to say that it's "quaint" or "authentic," even old school, but it's none of those things. My son and I ended up here on a Friday night after puzzling over what to get for dinner following some errand running and other chores. We usually get pizza from here - which is delicious, by the way - but we usually pick it up and take it home. However on this night, we were both so hungry we decided to eat at the source. Not a good idea. First there was the surly busboy who waved us over to a table without so much as a smile or even a confirmation that we were sitting where he'd indicated. Then we waited for about 5-10 minutes for him to come by again so we could ask for water. Thankfully our server was pleasant. He answered some questions about items on the menu, made some suggestions and took our order promptly. The food was generally good, but really hard to enjoy in the dingy environment. I know this place is kind of an institution of sorts, but really - a little bit of improvement could go a long, long way to improving the atmosphere and overall cleanliness of the place. I'll continue to call and order food for takeout (they don't deliver), but I can say with absolute certainty that I will not eat in the restaurant again.
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FRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIED CHICKEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With a name like Big Mama, you know fried chicken was invented here! Forget Roscoes, KFC, Popeyes, and Churches Chicken. For soul food, this is the right place (North Pasadena), in the right time (hungry time), with the right rhyme (soul baby). Though it is a "rib shack", the fried chicken is what first comes to mind. Order a plate of the wings and thighs and you'll never have juicier, crunchier, or tastier fried chicken in your life. FOOD: Some notable dishes are the pork chop with gravy, pork ribs, beef ribs, mac and cheese, and hush puppies. Don't get the seafood here, it's not all that. SERVICE: Because it's a soulfood restaurant, and I like to take my time nibbling all the meat off the chicken and ribs, I don't consider the service SLOW. But don't expect the waiter to be at your beck and call, he's probably busy helping big mama bread up the new batch in the back!
I agree with others who have lamented the loss of flavor at Islands. There was a time when I wouldn't think of ordering anything but one of their mouth-watering burgers, but over the years, I've found other favorites on the menu. I also like the Cabo Loco - and given the fat and calorie content, I'm glad they offer a choice of two or three, as this dish doesn't always hold up well as lunch leftovers for the next day. They do have a new burger called The Maverick. My friend ordered it last night and said it was pretty tasty. Apparently the BBQ sauce makes a difference. Then again, she had a turkey patty instead of beef, so that could affect the taste as well, I'd guess. It also comes with fries so the value is good, especially if you don't want to share or eat a huge basket of fries by yourself. Like I said, all in all, Islands is just OK.