Senegalese in Staten Island, near the ferry (and a question about the neighborhood)
I had lunch today at Mai, a Senegalese restaurant in Staten Island on Victory Blvd. near Corson. I didn't have high expectations, but I was curious about the place and hadn't had Senegalese good for many months, so I checked it out. I was very pleasantly surprised. I got a dish called "debe," a grilled lamb dish that came dressed with onions and a lemony sauce -- not like yassa, but more subtle. It also came with a fiery hot sauce (I like spicy food) and a side of sweet plaintains. At the owner's recommendation, I also got a homemade ginger drink that was kind of like ginger beer, which was also quite good. My one complaint is that the lamb meat was tougher than I usually like it, but it so flavorful that it wasn't a big deal.
Incidentially, this area (Tompkinsville, I guess) seems to have a remarkably diverse array of cuisines: besides the Senegalese food I ate, I saw Polish, Italian, Trinidadian, and Mexican restaurants, and I've eaten Sri Lankan food a few blocks down Victory Blvd. I wonder if anyone has any recommendations as to the other options in the area.
The Polish restaurant is very good and it has a store attached to it. There is an excellent South Indian/Sri Lankan restaurant down Victory--Dosa Garden--that has gotten a lot of play on these boards plus in the Village Voice.
Thanks for your posting, JackS. I've noticed this restaurant (Mai). I spoke to the owner recently, as I have the difficulty of being a vegetarian, and was assured they could make something for me. I'll take them up on this at my earliest opportunity.
As BMartin affirms, there is quite an interesting mix of cuisines in this little stretch of Tompkinsville. Fellow Chowhounder Flaco wrote of a satisfying Mexican experience along Victory there; I don't recall the place's name. I've enjoyed the Sunday buffet at SanRasa (Bay near Hannah), quite a bargain and many selections, but they're much the same every week in my experience -- I've had wonderful curries there from the regular menu. I do recommend the Polish Place, too. For Mexican, be sure to check out Los Molcajetes, along Bay St. in Stapleton, about a 20 min. walk from Victory. (There's a thread here about this place, too.)
Other places worth checking out are Vida in Stapleton (eclectic cuisine) and Enoteca Maria in St. George (Italian home cooking and a terrific wine list).