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Staten Island--is there hope???

  • m

I have to go out to the College of Staten Island and I'm using mass transit. I know there is a so-so diner, Joe and Pat's. Is there anything new or good in that area, near the Mall, Clove Lake (other than the Road House), or the Ferry?

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  1. I have had some good meals at the Cargo Cafe on Bay Street near the Ferry.

    Also, if I'm not mistaken the College of Staten Island is located on Victory Boulevard - aren't Staten Island's Sri Lankan restaurants on Victory as well?

    1. Yes, CSI is on Victory, but a ways out. Assuming you're coming from Manhattan, the bus from the ferry will go all the way down Victory.

      Joe and Pat's is by no means either so-so, or a diner. Joe and Pat's has some amazing thin-crust pizza. It has been faulted for the suburban decor (which is true), but the pizza is outstanding.

      Some of the Sri Lankan places are indeed on Victory Blvd. The one that's gotten a lot (relative to S.I.) of board talk is New Asha, which is on the left side of Victory, right before the intersection at Cebra Avenue. Visually, this is a hole-in-the-wall, but again, the food is quite excellent. Another Sri Lankan place that I've been to several times that is also very tasty is Lakruwana. It is 1 block out of the way, on Bay Street, past Victory. Lakruwana is definitely more "upscale," although not ridiculously so.

      A higher-end place on Victory Blvd. is American Grill. I haven't been since they moved there from Forest Ave., though. It is on the left right before the intersection of Slosson.

      There was a recent post about this new Vietnamese place on Richmond Ave. right by the highway. It's called Pho Mac; I'm looking forward to trying it. You can search for her post on it.

      Finally, for cheap, excellent tacos, try El Gallo Azteca ($2 for the regular, $3 for the especialidad de la casa). This is at about the second bus stop on Victory Blvd, corner of Monroe St. I think they also have some kind of Cubanos too, but I can't vouch for that.

      I think there's (at least a bit of) hope.

      1. I used to live near Clove Lake and go to CSI, so I sort of know the "old places". My mother used to take me to Joe & Pat's after girl scouts. I want something other than a place I already know about. There is a diner on Victory about two blocks away from Richmond. That is the so-so diner I was talking about. Not Joe & Pat's.

        I may come from Manhattan via the Ferry/bus or I might go through Bay Ridge. I may go to the mall afterwards. It doesn't really matter.

        1. There's also the Unicorn Diner on Victory near Richmond, fairly close to the college. There are a lot of good restaurants out here, speaking from almost 2 years out here after about 20 years in Brooklyn. But you need a car, and you have to search. The Vietnamese place is top notch--fortunately there does not appear (yet) to be an Americanized Vietnamese cooking, as there is Thai, Japanese, and Chinese. The American Grill is on Clove and Victory. Expensive, and a simple menu, but the food is very carefully cooked--like Queen in downtown Brooklyn. There is a smattering of Polish, Russian, and Albanian restaurants. Definitely chowhound territory out here, but you need to be resourceful.

          2 Replies
          1. re: BMartin

            Unicorn--that's the diner I was talking about. I had a few bad experiences there when I was in school. I tend to avoid that place. I also lived out on Staten Island for several years (without a car), so I know how to get around the island by mass transit. A nice Polish or Albanian resturant would be nice on a chilly day.

            1. re: MrsT

              For authentic and really good Polish try The Polish Place (19 Corson Avenue at Victory Blvd, (718) 442-8909), a 5-10 minute walk from the ferry.

              Eat-in lunch served (I believe) 11-3, I'd call before you go to check on the hours (they have dinner hours also).

          2. Has anyone been to a restaurant on Staten Island called the West Shore Inn? A friend who lives on the Island has raved about their steaks.

            1 Reply
            1. re: huskerdont

              Great place to eat. Call for hours.

              Take the Travis bound s62 bus right to the door. You can get it across the street from the college entrance on Victory.

              1. Having lived in Germany and generally loving hearty German food and beer, I highly recommend a newish place called Nurnberger Bierhaus (817 Castleton Ave
                Staten Island, NY 10310). I think it's been around for a year or so, and the atmosphere is charming (elements of kitsch but not over the top), often with German Volksmusik playing. The food is surprisingly good--my family especially enjoys the Kaesespaetzle (great Spaetzle--and I am a Spaetzle freak), Sauerbraten, and Gulasch. Nice selection of German beers on tap. Friendly service--and you can practice your German if you're so inclined because some of the servers and the chef are all German. A true find for S.I. I remember going to Killmeyers once, and though I didn't hate it or anything, Nuernberger is definitely the more serious German foodie destination.
                P.S. Let me add that I live in L.A. and with nothing comparable out here, I look forward to my twice yearly trips home to visit this place.

                1. Sorry to say, but I do think it's hopeless (I grew up on SI). DeNino's has the best pizza in the city, but it would be difficult to get to using mass transit from the college. However, it is certainly worth the effort.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: col8118

                    I agree with you about Denino's--I love that place! My mother grew up in S.I. (West Brighton) and would agree about the hopelessness, but for me there's more of a nostalgic novelty, not even to mention the excitement of some the great Italian delis, bakeries, and pizzerias. Do you also like Joe and Pat's? Years ago we used to love Pal Joey's, but that was before they moved to that sterile old bank location. Is there any other amazing pizza in S.I. in your opinion?

                    1. re: Epicure

                      You are definitely right about the delis, bakeries, and pizzerias--SI has undoubtedly some of the best italian ones. I don't think you can better fresh mozzarella than on SI--A&S and Novelli's pork stores are the best for italian specialities. I also think they have the best pizza in the city--there are many places where you can go, and these are just run of the mill places, yet the quality is great. I love Joe & Pat's, my husband loves Brother's Pizzeria on Richmond Ave, also Gennaro's on New Dorp Lane has great sicilian, great zeppoles, and a great eggplant rollatini or eggplant parm. We used to go to Pal Joey's all the time! They are closed now and I think the quality had gone down once they moved to the new location (we hadn't been there in years). We still have family there, so it's always the best (especially in the summer) when you can go to DeNino's for an incredible pie, then walk across the street and get a spumoni ice at Ralph's Ices--ah, heaven!

                      1. re: col8118

                        Oh, I just love eggplant parm! Have you ever had that at Mazzola's Meat Express (basically a convenience store on Forest) or at Royal Crown Bakery on Hylan? OH MY GOD, they're unbelievable renditions of that dish. I live in L.A. now and would kill to have even one of those dumpy looking places near me!
                        By the way, how do you compare Brother's and Gennaro's to Deninos or Joe and Pat's or pre-downfall Pal Joey's? Are they worth a trip more than, say, Denino's if my time in S.I. is limited?

                        1. re: Epicure

                          I find Gennaro's better for their eggplant than for their pizza, though their sicilian can be outstanding sometimes--it's inconsistent. But as for there baked ziti and such, I think it it is better than Pal Joey's ever was. So in that case, no, I wouldn't go there for pizza if your time is limited. As for Brother's, well my husband is a big fan but I tend to think their pizza is too cheesy and thick at times, in a pinch I would go, but not necessarily a special trip, though again, my husband and others swear by it. And yes, RC is great! Their sandwiches are excellent, though I never tried their eggplant. Good choice! I'll have to try Mazzola's, I have family in Westerleigh. Thanks for the info!

                        2. re: col8118

                          Ralph's Ices---I remember every Thursday at summer camp they would get us Ralph's.
                          My husband will be disappointed when he hears Pal Joey's closed. When he would visit his friend in HS they would always go to Pal Joey's. As for Gennaro's, I'm not a big fan, it is my grandmother's favorite pizza place.

                      2. re: col8118

                        Via mass transit is easy. Take the Travis bound s62 or just walk up to Richmond and Victory, take either the s44 ferry bound, or the s59 Port Richmond bound. Both stop at the door.

                        1. re: StaticIslandGuy

                          I think the op wanted food that was convenient to the college however.

                      3. So there is hope for Staten Island!

                        1. btw not only is it easy to get to Denino's vi s44 or s59, for those that don't know, Ralph's Ices is located across the street!

                          1. I recently visited family on Staten Island and stopped for cannoli at a small Pasticceria in a shopping center at the intersection of Richmond Ave. & Victory Blvd. - right by the College of Staten Island.

                            Great cannoli. Unfortunately the coffee there was just this side of undrinkable, but the cannolis were great and they had the standard roster of Italian-American bakery treats. Definitely worth a shot.

                            1. If you plan to make the trip to Deninos and Ralphs (outstanding ices) be aware that Ralphs is closed for the winter. Happy Holidays All!

                              1. Joe and Pat's! Great Pizza and classic hero's- Peppers and Eggs,
                                Sausage and Boccoli Rabe! Can't be that!

                                1. We order a Grandma's Pie that is very delicious. It's a square pie but made with a thin light crispy crust, slightly sweet sauce and creamy fresh Mozzarella. I always ask for it to be well done. It's one of my favorites, but you have to be someone who likes a lightly topped pie. If you like it cheesy, you have to order it with extra cheese.
                                  It came from Justino's on Guyon Ave just up from the Oakwood train station. We've had it several times and, once I learned to ask for it well done, it was a winner.

                                  1. Before you think about the Unicorn Diner, go here:
                                    The Unicorn has 15 health dept.inspection violation points. Terrible. Check out the places you eat before going there. NYC posts the inspection violations at the link I gave.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: neilz

                                      I just looked at the site you posted.
                                      I may never eat out again!
                                      Some seem not that big of a deal,
                                      but some of the ohters...(shudder!)
                                      It's very disheartening to see some
                                      of the violations. and just plain scary
                                      to see the rest.
                                      I'll have to go back and see if my favorite diner,
                                      Andrews's on Hylan Blvd in Great Kills, is on
                                      the list. Gee. I hope not!
                                      Thank you (I think) for the site :-}

                                      1. re: Tay

                                        The only problem with Andrew's is that they close early.

                                        1. re: MrsT

                                          Im not picky but the Unicorn is bad. The interior is neglected (several spots at the counter with the seats broken off). With that eye for detail, do we need to discuss the food?

                                          1. re: MrsT

                                            I don't know what time they close. They have never been closed when I have stopped by.I think they open up very early. I really like the food and the staff so I would be willing to work around their hours.

                                      2. I've got to chime in regarding the Unicorn. It's a favorite of my family so I've had the (dis)pleasure of eating there lately, but the Unicorn Diner has... drastically gone downhill, to say the least. Compared to ten years ago the Unicorn is a shell of its old self; any diner that can mess up an order of disco fries or souvlaki doesn't merit any return visits in my book.

                                        However, the Dakota Diner is only a half mile further up Richmond Avenue at the intersection with Forest. It does diner food right and, besides, is one of the "old school" type restaurants like Jade Island, Denino's or Real Madrid that makes eating out on Staten Island such a joy.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: huskerdont

                                          While we're on the topic of Island diners, The Island Coffee Shop at Manor Rd and Victory Blvd does all the diner fare right. Small and friendly, their homemade soups are esp good.

                                          1. re: jpeee

                                            The diners I remember going to on the Island were the Golden Dove, Colonade, and the Country Club. I was at the Colonade a year ago and they made a decent burger.
                                            Is Golden's Deli around still? I don't remeber much about the food, but I remember getting a big kick out of sitting in the subway car as a kid.

                                            1. re: MrsT

                                              We went to Golden's Sunday afternoon. We had pastrami on club, frenchies and soda. The sandwich I had was terrible. Very small club bread (4"). It seems like they put the scraps of the meat from the slicer on it. It was dry and really sub par. That will be my last trip to Golden's. I will go to the Mill Basin Deli. East 53 st & Ave. T, Bklyn. They always have the best sandwiches. It is a shame that as a Staten Islander I have to go to Brooklyn for a good pastrami sandwich.

                                        2. Are Joe and Pat's and Denino's both slice joints? I was thinking of doing a whirlwind slice joint tour that might or might not include south Brooklyn. If so, what types of pies/slices do they do well, and are there any other slice joints in SI that you would add to the tour? P.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: Polecat

                                            denino's did do slices in the afternoon awhile ago, but i'm not too sure if they still do. joe & pat's definitely does slices--round regular is best. denino's only does round.

                                            1. re: col8118

                                              Slice joint tour, I like it. Put Tonys Brick oven pizza (on Bay St) on the list. The Margharita or the garlicky roasted veggie slices are both crispy and worth a stop. Enjoy. ps.. Deninos is generally not a slice joint.

                                              1. re: jpeee

                                                funny, i've also been trying to rustle up some friends to go to staten island for a pizza/calzone tour. some of them are interested but to a man, they all dread the thought of going to staten island b/c "it's too far"...they seem to think we'll be on the other side of the earth, never to return, LOL.

                                                anyhow, as the others have mentioned joe and pat's is definitely a slice joint. last time i was at denino's they were serving slices too (afternoons only); call in advance to make sure they're still doing that.

                                                i'm surprised no one's mentioned nunzio's yet. i know some people think it isn't as good as it used to be, but as far as i'm concerned no staten island pizza tour is complete without denino's, joe and pat's, and nunzio's.

                                                i also think lee's tavern, right by the dongan hills train station, is worth a shot. really different than the other pies on the island--super thin crust, almost like a cracker. it's not my favorite on the island by any means, but i do think it's pretty good and worth going to.

                                                there's also a place called ciro's which i haven't been to in a long, long time. it used to be good but i'm not even sure if it's still around. did a quick search on this site and saw it mentioned here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                                it's an old thread from almost five years ago, but it's still relevant, for the most part, with some other great pizza recommendations.

                                                1. re: surly

                                                  Surly, we're all over the place tonight. Pizza in Staten Island, Noodle Soup with Lamb in Flushing - it's downright spooky.

                                                  Thanks very much to you, and other Staten Island veterans for cluing me in on Nunzio's - I had never even heard of it. I'm really starting to rev up for this tour.

                                                  Anyone got a car to loan me? A sawbuck or two?

                                                  1. re: Polecat

                                                    Isn't Nunzio's by the S78, S79 and the X1?

                                                    1. re: Polecat

                                                      LOL yeah tell me about it. but whenever there's a flushing- or pizza-related post i can't resist. and as most people on this board know, much-maligned staten island is a haven for great pizza (and sri lankan).

                                                      i'm sure you know this site already, but go to sliceny.com for more info on nunzio's and most of the other famous pizza joints - not only in the city proper, but also nj, ct, and the rest of the country. great reviews and photos; you really get a sense of what the pizza is like at each place.

                                                      1. re: surly

                                                        yes, i agree. great site.
                                                        now we'd better disagree about something, or people will talk.

                                            2. Ciro's is indeed open after a kitchen fire earlier this year. If you like Joe and Pats you'll like Ciro's....he is their son. Easy to get to from the ferry by train....directly across from the Huguenot train station.

                                              1. As I understand it from the Advance, they had another fire a few days ago.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: BMartin

                                                  you're right - what are the odds of two kitchen fires in one year?


                                                  the owners of ciro say they're going to reopen in a few weeks, for what it's worth.

                                                2. I am a native Islander and have had pizza in most places there. Learned how to make pizza in west brighton @ Berodies before the moved to forrest ave. I am going on my 3rd pizzeria now opening it up in ohio, comming home to bring my kids to see family. I played little league baseball and I played for Deninos and ate there many times and loved it, as a teen perfered Maters Pizza when not eating @ the place I worked lol. Then I found Brothers my oldest agrees best damn pizza in Staten Island if you want a slice or a good MB parm, if you want a pie and are with friends go to Deninos but on the same hand Joe and Pats are good also, Kings is good my brother in law worked for both as a teen. I miss NY pizza can't wait to come home this weekend, I am going to Deninos to show my wife what I want new pizzeria to look like and to Brothers to wish that I good get that taste lol