Staten Island - Sanrasa or Lakruwana?
I've been to both. There are so many dishes it's hard to compare San Rasa to Lakruwana. Although there are plenty of meat-centered offerings, they are a paradise for vegetarians as well. I would estimate 4 meat dishes and 6 veggie at either place. Plus condiments and desserts. In terms of flavor profiles, the two places are quite similar.
You are sure to be impressed by the panoply of flavors in the buffet. On a later visit, it would be repay you to sample some individual curries, rice dishes, etc. As good as the buffet is, I've tasted remarkable spices in the a la carte items that don't make it into the buffet offerings.
In my experience, when ordering a standard curry plate for lunch, Sri Lankan curries are not necessarily like Indian ones. There will be a mound of rice surrounded by 4 or 5 intriguingly flavored scoops of separate "curries" -- but once you've had them, they are fairly predictable though delicious. If you order an a la carte item like navratan curry it will be more individual. (Note: I don't dine Sri Lankan all that regularly; it's just a general impression of mine.) There were a couple of a la carte items on the San Rasa menu that were quite memorable.
If you've never had Sri Lankan food at all, then you are in for a treat, no matter whether you are at a buffet or ordering off the menu.
Please report back on your experience!
Ndukka, I wish I could be more specific. but I can't. I've had a couple of remarkable dishes there, but one was long ago (so I don 't recall), and more recently, I got a bite from my companion's plate, which was great, but darned if I know what it was that he ordered. I had the same experience at another Sri Lankan place (Lak Bojun, on Victory Blvd.), a dish featuring rice, with a spice undertone I've never experienced before. I suppose I really must begin taking notes!
Ziggy, if you are getting the buffet, just take samples of everything...it's not a question of ordering a specific dish, unless you want to order from the menu.
My personal take on the differences between Sri Lankan and Indian cooking (and I'm no expert) is that the spices in Sri Lankan cuisine seem more "pointed" and direct, whereas Indian dishes aim at a beautiful melding of spices into an intriguing and subtle ensemble. But don't quote me! :)
Had a fantastic dinner at Sanrasa yesterday. The room much more basic than Lakruwana but the food is really good. We tried a variety of dishes...
chicken with cashew curry - very good. nice and tender chicken
Lamb with black curry - lamb a little dry but the sauce more than made up. Couldn't get enough of it.
Hoppers - very nice and unique, like little spongy pancakes made with rice flour and coconut milk with some cooked with eggs
Kottu Roti - nice. They have an array of roti and hopper specials that come with your choice of meat curries
Lamprie - This is the house special and a must IMO. All kinds of goodies including rice, meat, curry, caramelized onions, cashews baked wrapped in banana leaf. An old Dutch influenced classic
Deviled Shrimp - Fantastic, Thai-like, very spicy sizzling unpeeled shrimp with veggies.
Lamb Biryani - very good
Nice Mango Lassi as well