Island Flavas evokes the Caribbean in Douglasville 

Island Flavas, a new Caribbean restaurant in Douglasville serving authentic West Indian dishes, has quickly become a popular spot with locals yearning for originality, creativity and a personal touch. The popularity is underscored by curiosity: The last three restaurants in this location, right off I-20 West, failed miserably in the awkward spot. A prayer for the restaurant's survival is all but required when making a left turn out of the parking lot.


Come back to Jamaica: Done up in true island fashion, the decor reminds me of the Caribbean places in New York, except the patio - complete with umbrellas over the dining tables - is much more alluring. A live band performs at night Friday through Sunday. Douglasville's small-town backdrop is definitely a plus for Island Flavas. If you live in the area, you're likely to run into someone you know while noshing on a plate of brown stew chicken ($6.99) or curry goat ($7.99).


Pat me down:The Sassy Sorrel ($2.49), a traditional Jamaican Christmas drink, goes down like a spicy Kool-Aid for adults. While waiting for our meal, we nibbled on two types of Jamaican patties, veggie and mild beef ($1.59). The meat was finely ground but not overly salty, though the veggie patty filling (a peppery mix of carrots, cabbage and green pepper) was a bit mushy.


Side swipe:When our meals arrive, we tackle our side dishes first. The fried plantains have a subtle sweetness about them. On weekends, the peas and rice looks as fresh as it tastes: The grains are fluffy, and the dish has a gentle undercurrent of coconut milk. During the week, though, the rice can be slightly dried out. The macaroni and cheese, however - creamy and unmistakably made from scratch - never disappoints.


A dish for Terry McMillan:The ginger-glazed chicken breast ($7.99) is seasoned with a delayed punch. Its tanginess begins slowly, but eventually there is an undeniable explosion of pleasantly stimulating spice. The ginger permeated the honey-colored skin and the meat was so tender, it hung from the bone with a sophisticated yet roughneck attitude. On my last visit, to my dismay, the chicken was not a breast, but actually a leg and a thigh. Conversely, the curried chicken ($6.99) that on previous trips seemed to be missing something was unexpectedly inviting. Smooth and rich, the mild tropical flavor makes me fantasize about lying on a beach, getting my groove back.

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