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So, We're Going to Staten Island for Lunch

MMRuth May 21, 2008 03:07 PM

We're going to go this Saturday - want to visit the Tibetan art museum and probably Historic Richmond Town. Both are open from 1 - 5, so we'll have lunch before. (I'd also like to see the Chinese Garden but not sure we'll have enough time.) Tay had recommended the South Fin Grill - the sea food towers/platters sound appealing. I looked at the Chez Laurent menu, but we're not big sandwich eaters, so I'm inclined to give it a pass.

I've checked out this thread - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/499647 - but am open to other ideas. I've heard that there is good Sri Lankan food on SI, but my geography of the area is limited (though I'm working on it!), and so if anyone had suggests of places that would be somewhat convenient to our itinerary, that would be most appreciated. A place where we could sit outside with the dog would be real bonus, but not necessary.

We'll be driving from Manhattan, so will be using the Verrazano bridge.

Thanks so much - really looking forward to this.

  1. MMRuth May 29, 2008 09:54 AM

    We ended up going to the St. George's farmer's market when we arrived on SI - as others suggested, very few vendors, but the rugelach was wonderful - I'd never tried it before, believe it or not, and enjoyed both the apricot and the cinnamon/raisin ones. Also bought a nice loaf of seven grain bread at the same vendor. After spending some time at Snug Harbor, we made it over to El Pollo for lunch. My asopao de camarones was terrific - lots of large shrimp, though my husband thought it needed to be soupier. We both liked the tostones. My husband had the octopus salad, which he said was quite good, and, though he enjoyed his pigs feet, he thought his dish was too greasy (which is something, coming from him). I had a very well chilled (as it should be!) Presidente, as well.

    Unfortunately we didn't make it anywhere to get Italian ices, as, after Historic Richmond Town and the Tibetan museum (which, btw, are minutes away from one another), my husband was ready to head home.

    A great day, and thanks for all of your suggestions.

    12 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth
      Tay May 30, 2008 07:34 AM

      I'm so gald you had a good day!. I too purchased some ruggelach + at the St George Mkt . I'm glad you like the ruggelach,(I have a fondness for the choco type) but I'd have to say, except for the chicken empanadas, the baked goods were not nearly as good as they have been in previous years. Neither the regular "Ruggelach guy" or his wife were there so perhaps they have sold the business. If it works the way it has in previous years, as the summer approaches there should be many more vendors. Your lunch sounds as though it was pretty good. You had some really nice weather to explore Richmondtown. Funny, I always think that it's not that close to the Tibetan museum so I'm glad I'm mistaken. Maybe next time you visit, you will head the opposite way on Bay St and hit up the beach, the boardwalk and those yummy ices. :-}

      1. re: Tay
        Flaco May 30, 2008 08:07 AM

        Too funny ladies... I was at St George Farmers market and also bought empanadas and olive bread from the ruggelach folks! MMR, thanks for digging deeper at El Pollo, I was wondering about the gambas and pulpo myself.

        1. re: Flaco
          MMRuth May 30, 2008 08:09 AM

          How were the empanadas? They looked good. And, I forgot that I had a beef one at El Pollo! The dough was nice and crispy/flakey, but I thought the meat was a little undersalted.

          1. re: MMRuth
            Flaco May 30, 2008 08:13 AM

            The chicken were OK, the beef very bland ground beef. Shame because the dough was excellent.

            1. re: Flaco
              Tay May 30, 2008 12:06 PM

              Thats pretty funny. I was there early in the day. I bought some chicken empanadas which I thought were good. Reading your post I'm glad I didn't buy the beef as well. I too liked the crust.
              I think this is the first time they have ever offered them which reinforces my thought that the stand is under new ownership.
              The knishes were not good nor was the blueberry corn bread.
              I hope both of you fared better with your breads. Hopefully, the 'pie people' will be back once the season develops.
              I usually buy most 'Stand' foods from the Allentown Farmer's Mkt, but that's a bit of a trip so it would be nice to get it closer to home.

              1. re: Tay
                MMRuth May 30, 2008 12:08 PM

                My bread was quite good.

                1. re: MMRuth
                  Tay May 30, 2008 12:13 PM

                  The ruggelach was ok but not nearly as good as it has been in the past. The corn bread was so dry it was not really edible w/o lots of liquid. The knishes were just....Bad. I'm glad your bread was good :-}

                2. re: Tay
                  BMartin May 31, 2008 01:56 PM

                  You are correct that they are under new ownership. At the end of the market last year they said they were folding up their tents and not coming back.

                  1. re: BMartin
                    Tay Jun 1, 2008 04:47 AM

                    I had read that the original ownwr, Tom and his wife were moving to NC, but then read another article that said they had changed their minds and decided not to move, so I was very happy to see their stand If my experience was any indication, the new owners are not up to par in terms of how they are executing the recipes. As I posted earlier, the ruggelach were just ok, but not up to their past quality and most everthing else was either disappointing or completely inedible. Nor are they inexpensive. I'll give the ruggelach another shot, and if it's not too hot weatherwise, maybe the chicken empanadas, but if I see the same people behind the counter, that will be all I purchase. A shame, since I always loved their stuff and was thrilled when they showed up at the all too briefly held Richmondtown Farmer's Mkt.

                    1. re: Tay
                      itstangy Jun 4, 2009 09:32 AM

                      Great thread, I lived in SI for the past 10 yrs (Fort. Wadsworth) and haven't been to a lot of the restaurants...I'll def. try some of the recommended ones here. Thanks!!

                      1. re: itstangy
                        Tay Jun 4, 2009 03:35 PM

                        Please be aware that this is a year old thread so (unfortunate;y) some places may no longer be around. :-(

        2. re: MMRuth
          buttertart Jun 4, 2009 11:49 AM

          Next time do go to the Chinese garden. It was built by Suzhou artisans and is the closest that you'll get to that particular bit of heaven on earth (Suzhou gardens, particularly the Liuyuan and the Zhuo Zheng Yuan) on this side of the Pacific. And will afford you more eating opportunities!

        3. the Sparrow May 24, 2008 05:53 PM

          We checked out New Asha for Sri Lankan food today on a day trip from Brooklyn and the lady who ran the place was really sweet - we got some beers next door from the deli and she made us up a tasting plate. The best item was the fried crispy mutton roll, and the eggplant was also fab, as was the egg bread. Not long on atmosphere, but good food cheap if you are looking for a bite to eat in SI.

          1. t
            Tay May 21, 2008 05:26 PM

            Hopefully Flaco will respond to your posting. He's got a very good feel for the part of the Island you'll be visiting and hechecks out all the funky little gems that often escape notice. I have eaten at Enoteca Maria on Hyatt St and thought it was very good. I don't know if it will be helpful but I'm linking you to Staten Island's outdoor restaurant review.
            Just scroll down until you see : DINING: Exterior eats .
            As an aside, Richmondtown is not that close to the Tibetian museum. You might want to hit Snug Harbor and the Chinese Gardens and save Richmondtown for another visit.
            The St George Farmer's Mkt is now open on Sats from 8am-2pm. I haven't checked it out this season, and it's a little early in the season for the really great produce but they usually have some good things, and the Not Just Ruggalach(sp?) guy will be there. As a nice bonus, it's pet friendly and since it's set up in the court's parking lot, there is plenty of parking.
            St. George
            Borough Hall, St Marks & Hyatt Sts
            Sat 8am-2pm
            Whatever you do, wherever you go, I hope you have a wonderful time! :-}

            16 Replies
            1. re: Tay
              MMRuth May 21, 2008 05:28 PM

              Thanks for the tips - love the idea of checking out the Farmer's Market. I'll do some "mapquesting" tomorrow to figure out where things are.

              1. re: MMRuth
                Tay May 21, 2008 05:35 PM

                Regardless of what MapQuest tells you, just remember to take the lower level of the Bridge and stay all the way to the right. You'll need to get off at the Bay St exit and if you're not all the way to the right, you will not be able to exit

                1. re: Tay
                  MMRuth May 21, 2008 05:42 PM

                  Would you mind emailing me at mmruth at hotmail dot com? I have a quick non chow related question! Thanks ....

                  1. re: MMRuth
                    Tay May 21, 2008 05:44 PM

                    done :-}

                    Oh.. Before I forget, this might be of interest to you.

                    1. re: Tay
                      MMRuth May 21, 2008 06:09 PM

                      Thanks - interesting that there is a Dominican place (my husband is Dominican).

                      1. re: MMRuth
                        Tay May 21, 2008 06:26 PM

                        There are all sorts of little start up creative ethnic places on the Island. Flaco is our "little places" expert:-}

                        1. re: Tay
                          Flaco May 22, 2008 11:15 AM

                          Actually I'm the cheap guy. We had trouble with this Lighthouse Hill area before, didn't we Tay? MMRuth, make sure you check out the Frank Lloyd Wright house before/after Tibetan Museum. You would prefer a nice sit down, no? What about Aesops, Bayou or Zest on Bay? Open for lunch? Vida? As far as Dominican, El Pollo is still my fave and is nice enough inside... staff are friendly.

                          I prefer Gerardis Farmers Market on Richmond Terrace to the St. George gouge fest. Maybe MMRuth could hit it on the way to Snug Harbor?

                          What about Beso by the ferry? I've only had a tapa or two... good but jury is still out.

                          1. re: Flaco
                            MMRuth May 22, 2008 11:39 AM

                            Nothing wrong with cheap! Thanks for the suggestions - yes, we'd prefer sit down, though if there were a great taco or something that we ought to try before lunch, that would be good too!

                            1. re: MMRuth
                              Flaco May 23, 2008 08:47 AM

                              On Sand Lane a couple blocks in from the beach you will find La Canasta. Muy primitivo inside but there are tables. Sopes and quesadillas are better than the tacos but on weekends I usually order the consomme de chivo... make sure they bring you fresh onion, cilantro, limes etc and the dried pepper flakes to sprinkle on top. You might also find caldo de camarones on weekends.

                              1. re: Flaco
                                MMRuth May 23, 2008 09:17 AM

                                Thanks - my husband would love the consomme de chivo!

                                1. re: MMRuth
                                  Tay May 23, 2008 02:24 PM

                                  See?... He's the 'go To' guy for the cool little places.He knows all the good stuff. :-} I've eaten at LaCanasta and I thought the quesadilla's were delicious. As an added plus, Ben and Jerry's has opened up their Boardwwalk stand for the season.

                                2. re: Flaco
                                  MMRuth May 23, 2008 03:16 PM

                                  Flaco - have you tried:

                                  NIETO'S ECUADORIAN
                                  1195 Castleton Ave.
                                  West Brighton

                                  Was just reading about it ...

                                  1. re: MMRuth
                                    Flaco May 23, 2008 04:15 PM

                                    Had lunch there a couple weeks past. Tripe soup to start and a guisada de res with rice and fries. Soup broth was good but tripe was super funky, stew was dismal. I was the only customer and when I asked about how many Ecuadorians live on the island the boss said that there were many... I beg to differ. There was lots of mariscos on the menu so who knows but my head and gut tell me that this place is some sort of write-off.

                                    1. re: Flaco
                                      MMRuth May 23, 2008 04:42 PM

                                      Good to know. I've plotted various spots on my first google map so I have a sense of where things are in relation to one another! Appreciate your help.

                              2. re: Flaco
                                Tay May 23, 2008 02:30 PM

                                LOL! You are NOT the 'Cheap Guy' You are the 'Economically Savvy' Guy. I used to love Aesop's but it has been undergoing major menu and decor changes, so I'm hesitant to rec until I return there myself. I thought maybe Entoreca (sp?) Maria on Hyatt St if they are open for lunch. I have a great dinner there. Really wonderful food,

                  2. re: Tay
                    MMRuth Jul 26, 2008 12:21 PM

                    Just posting this to clarify that in fact the Tibetan Museum and Richmondtown are very close to one another, though I don't now how much chow is really close by.

                  3. MMRuth May 21, 2008 03:18 PM

                    Just realized that I missed this thread - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/508622 - will check it out.

                    Oh - and would love any suggestions of markets we might want to check out. Maybe that Polish bakery?

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