Dosa Garden on Staten Island makes a big deal of their Chettinad-trained chefs. When it comes to the curry, you should listen.
'Staten Island' on Serious Eats
It's not uncommon for chefs working in trendy restaurants located in trendy neighborhoods to live nowhere near where they spend long hours in front of the stove. When Richard Gibbs, the executive chef at Battery Harris in Williamsburg, isn't cooking up what he calls Afro-Latino cuisine or bottling his own barbecue sauces, he's spending time on Staten Island. Here's where he goes to eat.
The sloping, tree-lined Victory Boulevard that crisscrosses Staten Island's Tompkinsville neighborhood offers visitors a spectacular view of Manhattan. But it's more than a pretty residential street with views that would make a Brooklyner rethink their rooftop: it's also the heart of the Sri Lankan community that's taken hold on Staten Island (with some great restaurants to boot).
It's also home to Lanka Grocery.
Staten Island is New York's destination for Sri Lankan food, but if you've never been, or aren't that familiar with the cuisine, it can be a little daunting to decide what and where to eat. Here's your complete guide to the best Sri Lankan cooking on the island.
Victory Boulevard is one of Staten Island's concentrated rows of immigrant deliciousness, especially where its sizable Sri Lankan community is concerned. And at New Asha, right across the street from the dosa mavens at Dosa Garden, there are some great snacks to be found at rock bottom prices.
If you were to believe their own hype, you'd think that Goodfellas, a mini-chain started over on Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island back in 1992 was the "WORLD'S BEST PIZZA." Don't believe them? What if they were to tell you that they were voted World's Best Pizza? Yeah, I'm a little skeptical too. I haven't been to the Staten Island locations (there are two now), but I've walked past the Lower East Side storefront on my way up to the pizza haven of the East Village many times. It looks like a generic, cookie-cutter, corporate pizza restaurant—like a Sbarro's with more brick and less brass. But I'm not the kind of guy who judges a pizza before it passes my lips, and I was willing to give the pies a fair shake.
If you don't hear from me after this post, I'm either dead or in witness protection. If so, it's been nice knowin' ya, Slice'rs.
Bayou takes the New Orleans theme far, maybe too far, with Louis Armstrong's entire oeuvre looping on the stereo and movie posters for NOLA-set classics like Mardis Gras Massacre adorning the walls. But as the candles flick shadows across the brick walls and "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" starts up, you remember just what a sexy city New Orleans is.
A minimally beautiful little slice. Life rafts of mozzarella float atop a bright-red sea of fresh-tasting, chunky sauce—it's little more than crushed canned tomatoes, some salt, and a some basil. The crust is crisp and pliant and thin. You'll probably want a couple.
This German restaurant on Staten Island crosses Middle America with Mitteleuropa. The result offers a warm, homespun atmosphere and yeasty, meaty staples.
When it comes to dining in the five boroughs, Staten Island often gets left off of the radar. People are willing to make the trip out to Flushing or Sunset Park, but rarely across the water. I'm sure part of it is the trip itself; to get to Dosa Garden I had to take the train to the ferry, then another train, and then I had to walk (uphill) for almost a mile. Yet the stretch of Victory Boulevard between the Tompkinsville stop of the Staten Island Railroad and the restaurant was positively flush with sights that would make even the most jaded New York foodie sit up and take notice: a roti shop, a Nigerian grocery, and multiple Sri Lankan restaurants.
Owner Joe Scaravella wanted a restaurant that reflected the home cooking he experienced throughout Italy. So he found a bunch of grandmothers willing to trade shifts in an open galley kitchen, and Enoteca Maria opened in 2007.
I love this story. On Staten Island, a less-than-bright thief followed the owners of Brothers Pizza home after the shop had closed and grabbed from them a bag holding what he thought was the day's cash take. It turned out to be ... pizza dough. ... D'oh!
[Photo: Sara Markel-Gonzalez] This week we go back to Staten Island, where I've been exploring Victory Boulevard in the next few Staten Island trips, searching for the best tacos. El Gallo Azteca was the first stop, and all I...
[Photo: Sara Market-Gonzalez] It's perfect beach weather again—and a perfect week to again combine two of my favorite summer activities: going to the beach and looking for great tacos. (Although that last is a year-round activity). I took the...
Bistec tacos. [Photographs: Vincent Gragnani] As do many Southern Californians who relocate to New York, I once ignorantly lamented the dearth of Mexican food in this part of the country. But a quick look around and I found that...
Clockwise from top: If you want a sort of impromptu "making-of" slideshow, click the top image; it's more bonus material than anything, though. An individual-size vodka pie. A large half sausage–half plain pie. [Photographs: Adam Kuban] Pier 76 76 Bay Street, Staten Island NY (near Slosson Terr.; map); 718-447-7437; pier76si.com Getting there: I assume most Staten Islanders have cars and can drive. If you're coming from the other boroughs, it's a short walk from the St. George Ferry Terminal—just make sure to exit near where the buses land and not on western exit. Walk toward SI Borough Hall and...
Duffy's is the self-proclaimed home of Staten Island's Best Burgers, but the English muffins they use as buns are ill-suited for their juicy patties.
Lee's Tavern 60 Hancock Street, Staten Island NY 10305 (at Garretson Ave.; map); 718-667-9749; Pizza Style: Bar pizza Oven Type: Gas The Skinny: Classic version of bar pizza Price: Bar size, $5.25; traditional large, $9; toppings, $1 or $2 extra, respectively There are no signs outside Lee's Tavern to indicate that it is in fact Lee's Tavern. And walking into the place, there's not much of an initial indication that one would be able to get a fine example of bar pizza there. The place is worn to a dull patina—the vinyl floor and irregularly matched tables and chairs,...