Island Soul Bistro (Lemon Grove)

IMG_4302 Island Soul Bistro opened up late last year, you know, in 2014. That sounds soooo long ago. It is situated in a dark strip mall in Lemon Grove. Our love of island food brought us here, hoping to uncover a hidden gem. They stood out because of their “unique fusion of Chamorro and Southern cuisine,” according to their website. DSC_0001
If you dine in their sweet tea is on the house. It wasn’t overly sweet, but seemed a little watered down to my taste. Anh thought it was just right. Island Soul Bistro Collage When I walked inside I pictured them serving some form of Southern fried chicken kelaguen or maybe ribs with a soy sauce/vinegar glaze. Perhaps my definition of fusion is different because there are separate sections for “Island Cuisine” and “Soul Cuisine.” When we went they didn’t have anyone dish that had the elements of both cuisines on one plate. Looking at their menu now it looks like they have a Best of Both Worlds Platter that offers just that. Regardless, we ordered one entree from each section so we could taste the Chamorro and Georgia style Southern plates side by side. If you order from the Southern section you get a choice of two sides. We went with mac and cheese and country greens. The mac and cheese was smooth and cheesy. The greens had shaved turkey in them and were super flavorful. Reminiscent of the collard greens at Coop’s but with healthier turkey. It seemed a little bit less dense or packed in, but just as delicious.  DSC_0007 We’ve had grits a number of times now and it hasn’t ever been a go to item for us. I personally just get tired of eating it after a few bites. And after the initial, “wow, these are actually pretty good” thoughts, it happened again like déjà vu. I got tired of them. Maybe it is the texture, or maybe I just want more things to chew on. I’m not sure. These were a little bit cheesy and buttery and had maybe eight to ten cut up pieces of shrimp hiding underneath. Hopefully one day I will have a transformative bowl of grits and be changed forever.     DSC_0014
For our Island plate we got the Chamorro Chicken. It also comes with two sides. We had to go with red rice and chicken kelaguen. The actual pieces of chicken were a little dry on the outside. The ends of it we could almost pull apart like jerky. We enjoyed the red rice and chicken kelaguen, although we like our accompanying sauce to be heavier on the vinegar or lemon for extra tanginess. Everything was okay, just not as good as we had hoped. Island Soul Bistro Collage 2 They have since added a few different menu items like oxtails and scallops, which are things I usually would order. I do want to try Island Soul Bistro again to see if we enjoy some of their other items better. The baby back ribs probably would get the nod when we visit again.

Island Soul Bistro
6937 Federal Blvd.
Lemon Grove, CA 91945
Island Soul Bistro on Urbanspoon

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About Darren

Fooood! I love it if you can't tell already. I love everything about it. The taste, the smell, the look, the feel, the satisfaction, the gratification, and ultimately: the fun! I've been in San Diego for about 10 years now and it amazes me that there are still places to uncover. Traveling, eating, and taking pictures of food has always been a hobby of mine. So naturally Michael and I thought it made sense to share what we found with all of you. I tend to side with the savory but never shy away from a knock out dessert. If you have a place you think we haven't tried let us know! We're always on the lookout...

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2 Comments on “Island Soul Bistro (Lemon Grove)”

  1. This was recently Otoa Samoa (the signage which can still be seen under the banner) and prior to that it was Taste of Polynesia, a former Samoan eatery which I visited several years ago. I didn’t know this place changed hands again. Will have to make a visit to check them out. The offerings look and sound good!

    1. Looking forward to seeing what you get and how you like it! Sounds like that location is a revolving door. Hopefully if this place can deliver it has some staying power.

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