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Where are the Staten Islanders?

I fully realize we're not the center of the culinary universe out here, but I really wish there were more Chowhounds contributing from Staten Island.

I recall a few who used to post frequently...Tay and BMartin, and perhaps a couple of others.

I know....this state of affairs usually means I should take it upon myself to get the ball rolling and submit a few reviews myself. I completely agree, but 'm not in a position to splurge on eating out that often...although some enticing reviews might convince me. Also I'm a vegetarian, so that limits what I can report on.

I think I'm going to become a Yelp fan, or find another resto bog. I still visit and contribute to other Chowhound boards, but Outer Boroughs hasn't well served the Outermost Borough.

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  1. Hey Comestible,

    I am a recent Brooklyn-to-New Brighton immigrant. When I first moved to SI I relied heavily on your and Flaco's posts for eating guidance. So thank you! I've posted a couple times since then, and have tried to respond to posted queries. But my posts received little reply, and SI-related volume has been so low that I've had trouble remembering to check in on Chowhound for SI topics. I feel your frustration.

    However, we do have wonderful and under-appreciated food here, and this remains the best place to talk about and research it. I will endeavor to check in more regularly over the next months. Perhaps others can do the same...

    1. Here's a question (I have just about zero familiarity with Staten Island, but that's not unheard of...):
      do you need a car to get all over the place, or does the rail on the eastern part of the island serve usual food neighborhoods well? Checking a map makes it seem that the Sri Lankan block is not a long walk from the ferry, but other than that, I'd say many Chowhounders in the Outer Boroughs (or Manhattan, anyway) don't have easy access to a car/would want to get a Zipcar to go to SI? Glad to be told otherwise...

      4 Replies
      1. re: BuildingMyBento

        Hi, BMB. It depends. A car, of course, is very helpful for some places, and probably quickest, but we do have a decent network of city buses and that rail line (both free transfers from other NYC Transit). The bus covers a wide network of streets (see MTA site). The train for most of its length parallels the very traffic-heavy Hylan Blvd, which does have some restaurant attractions.

        The Sri Lankan places are close to the ferry. One, SanRasa, is a 15-minute walk. Others, like the cluster of places on Victory at Cebra (New Asha / Lak Bojun / Dosa Garden) are a longer walk but a 15-min. bus ride. Lakruwana on Bay at Broad, is about a 30-min. walk or 15-min. bus ride.

        1. re: comestible

          I'll try to weigh in also. Part of it is the recession is detering folks from opening new restaurants. But, there's Blue for example, where I have not been yet.

          1. re: BMartin

            i am a fairly recent bklyn to SI transplant myself. i have found myself less inspired to post on much of what i have seen here, but that said, there are certainly some gems, and if there is an interested community, i would happily become a part of it.

            i did try blue shortly after they opened in mid june.

            they are owned by the same owners as beso and bayou, which are also two of the north shore of staten island's worthy culinary establishments.

            i was with a group of friends my first time there, but we waited over an hour for a table, which was a tad unwelcome...though the bar area was pleasant and they make some decent cocktails. the food was good, if a bit inconsistent, and below the standard of food i have experienced at both beso and bayou. the tuna i had for dinner was good - it was so inspired, or particularly noteworthy. but it was good. many of my critiques i would attribute to it being so recently opened. i would absolutely give it another try. the setting is lovely, the decor well-done, the menu interesting, the drinks creative and strong.

            beware, the neighborhood is odd and remote and the parking is somewhat scarce, but not impossible.

            as a side note - the srilankan restaurants are walkable (though not through the best couple blocks) from the ferry... i have tried san rasa and dosa garden, and both were very good, with san rasa actually veering closer to excellent. i would definitely like to try a couple of the others soon. totally worth the trip!

            1. re: vatl619

              Dosa Garden seems to have declined. And, where's Tay?

      2. I am unique in that I am a Brooklyn-Staten Island transplant x2. I used to know many places on SI, but many of them have closed. I am now on a quest to find a nice place for my daughter's christening. Unfortunately my family would not welcome Sri Lankan fare either. So now I have to find something good either Italian or American. Preferably off Hylan Blvd.

        3 Replies
        1. re: MrsT

          Nothing wrong with Italian being the local default cuisine (I can imagine worse!) Have seen Da Noi recommended on this board a few times....they have more than one location; I think the original is on Fingerboard Rd.

          I'm sure there are many worthwhile Italian places. I can't keep up with them all. Another that has good buzz is NOVE Italian Bistro. in Eltingville; I think Richmond Ave. near Amboy Rd. Have not been there myself.

          1. re: MrsT

            Trattoria Romana is on Hylan and serves memorable Italian fare. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside is all old world Italian-American classiness and really good (albeit incredibly heavy) grub.

            1. re: jpiglet

              You have just made a journey into Staten Island sound like an excellent, excellent idea...

          2. I'm here!!!
            Live in SI for the past 13 years, obsessed with good food, which means I mostly eat in the other boroughs ;) Sorry I dont see much reason for folks to make the schlep from Brooklyn or Manhattan with all these options there. With that said, at the moment my faves here are...

            Enoteca Maria - When the owner is in a good mood.
            Vida - When the owner is in a nasty mood (and dishes out a nasty special or 2)
            Bayou - For the Jambalya rice balls and seafood
            Beso - tho been only once

            Best Italian is probably at Enoteca but a party I would do at NOVE.

            Havent tried Blue yet and hear nothing but average to below average fair which is ironic since thats where Julian Gaxholli is cooking. I also havent tried any of the sri lankan places and I'm well overdue. Which one should I try first

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ziggy41

              Hi, Ziggy, and thanks for contributing. We need you!

              Vida and Enoteca have long been faves of mine, and Trattoria Romana. Along with a select few pizza places like Giove.

              As for Sri Lankan, both Lakruwana and SanRasa have Sunday buffets that are worth trying, but the best dishes are prepared fresh. Hard to recommend one place over another, but the other day I was at Lak Bojun for lunch; my curry was good but my friend's rice dish was wonderful, and beautifully flavored with a spice I'd never experienced before. Had the same sensation with a curry at SanRasa in the past. I have not understood the buzz (V. Voice and elsewhere) for New Asha; most of their dishes are steam table, OK for a quick bite but a good cut below freshly prepared food IMO.