Trattoria Romana - amazing Italian in Staten Island
Okay, so we're your typically terribly snobby New Yorkers who've been to Staten Island maybe three times in our lives, if that - Staten Island?!!!!! That is, until a dear friend of ours moved there. So we then looked in Zagat's for the best Italian on Staten Island, given that the borough is supposed to have good Italian food. Zagat's gave Trattoria Romana on Hylan Boulevard a 25 for food - above anything else on S.I. by far - so we went.
We waited in line for 75 minutes - the line and crowd of people out the door was ginormous. But let me tell ya - and who'da thunk that Staten Island would be home to amazing food - IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT.
We died and went to heaven. Among the best Italian we've ever had. The pastas were so fresh, so al dente - to die for. Best appetizers and antipasto imaginable. The salads, the sauces, the preparation, the food portions: Incredible. We've been there three times in the last five or so weeks; we cannot believe one of our favorite restos is in Staten Island.
The chef Vittorio, who is from Rome and has amazing credentials - treats everyone like family, walking the tables. The waiters encourage you to stay as long as you want. They serve, without asking, polenta and bruschetta to everyone as soon as you're seated.
It's also fairly priced. Pastas in the $10 to 15 or so range, other dishes $20 or so. For this kind of food, amazing.
Thank you for posting. We'd suggest that if you intend to stick around and be part of our community, "GreatFoodinStatenIsland?!" might not be a nametag you'd choose for regular participation. But perhaps this was just a one-shot contribution about this single restaurant, for any of various purposes (perhaps innocent, in which case we welcome you, or perhaps not, in which case you should know that we forever ban discussion of restaurants that "shill" here).
It's hard to be certain of the intentions of a first time poster, and we'd urge readers-along to weigh the value and non-commerciality of any given recco via the track record of the poster (or the consensus of multiple posters).
I don't think you need to get all defensive. Read the first line the moderator wrote: "Thank you for posting. We'd suggest that if you intend to stick around..."
Although there was perhaps a hint of question about the objectivity of the review, i don't feel that was the main thrust of the moderator response to you. They were trying to make a suggestion that would help make you another great contributor to this web community on chowhound.
People have differing tastes and preferences and it helps all participants if each person consistently uses the same name so people can, after reading a few messages, begin to develop an idea of your tastes and better evaluate your comments and information for themselves. It just seemed possible that after chosing to use GreatFoodinStatenIsland?! for this restaurant report that you might decide to use something different when reporting on other places in other boroughs. So they were encouraging you to think about a name that you would like to use all the time. Basically, since you said you are a New Yorker who has been to Staten Island a very few times it seems that "GreatFoodinStatenIsland?!" is possibly not the best choice of a chowhound message nick name for you. Yes, people do chose names that associate them with a particular geographic location, but from your comments in your report, you are not based in nor seem to identify yourself with Staten Island.
I hope you continue to participate in these message boards.
Thanks, Wray. I've been posting on Chowhound for over two years and even have it linked on my personal website as one of my favorites. And I cannot tell you how many people to whom I've referred this site. There are quite a few postings on this board right now from me, in fact.
I truly didn't know that posting under one name was a preference of others, several of whom also post under different names. Yes, you're right, I'm not from Staten Island - so what? I'm from Manhattan. Like so many other Chowhounders, I'll travel anywhere for good Chowish food.
Our earlier post wasn't meant to jump on you, but we keep an eagle eye out for shills hyping their own (or a friend's) establishments, and often they come in the form of a rave review with a topical nickname that we've never seen before and don't see again. We ban restaurants that shill us from discussion here, forever, so it's a disservice to a restaurant you love to do this.
Also, to clarify, using one, and only one, Chowhound handle is not just something the community prefers (though it's helpful to have something different or catchy, rather than a generic "John," "Steve" or "Marion," so people can follow your posts) - it's a posting rule (see link below for our posting rules). We allow only one handle per poster, and it must be used consistently. So choose your permanent chow identity and post away!
I've been to TR maybe 12-15 times in two or three years, and I'd agree with half of your assessment. Their pastas have generally been good to excellent. Portions tend toward the enormous - not exactly atypical for SI. Good apps; we especially like anchovies and peppers. Price : quantity : quality ratio is pretty good. On my first visit, I did indeed say to myself "self, that may be just about the best the best Italian food I've had in a restaurant thus far."
OTOH: I think they've gone somewhat downhill; perhaps expanding into the second room strained the kitchen. They're clueless with fish, or else I've been unlucky twice. It's too crowded, not enough space between tables. And my last couple visits have been marred by god-awful cheezy live electric piano "worst of the Godfather/Sopranos" music - it's real work to hold back the laughter, but I don't think laughing would be a wise move here.
My current favorite SI SI (Staten Island Southern Italian) restaurant: La Riviera, on Forest Ave. We've had outstanding fish and very very good veal and pastas there in two visits. More spacious and relaxed atmosphere. Superior service (even by SI standards, which in my experience are the highest of any borough at any given price level), warm and welcoming, blah blah blah. But all this comes at a price, nearly double TR's if you go with the specials, which have been in the $20-30 range.
(My favorite restaurant on the Island, period, is a Sri Lankan joint, New Asha on Victory Blvd. You'll find a number of SI discussions further down the Outer Boroughs board.)
I've only been to Trattoria Romana once but was not that impressed...which is why I haven't returned. Not saying it was bad, just not worth a return visit IMHO. Actually, I'm not impressed in general with the numerous Italian restaurants found on Staten Island to begin with. (though I believe some of the finest pizza NY has to offer can be found here ) I would like to mention three exceptions to the rule....three S.I. Italian restaurants that are on par with the other boroughs.....Nucci's on Forest Ave, Kings Restaurant & Pizza on Victory Blvd., and La Sabia on Sand Lane in South Beach.
trattoria is recommended, but they cut corners and are not special in any way. they just don't stink.