We track down the best flavors, meals, and hidden restaurant secrets on the island.
In our current fast food culture, super-value meals, grab-and-go danishes and grande cups of mochaccino lattes are what sustain us. But not every meal comes in the form of a slice. In fact, if you dig a little deeper into the borough’s pasta-heavy restaurant landscape, it’s easy to find some really inventive and modern meals. We surveyed 15 of Staten Island’s most contemporary eateries in our hunt for each bistro’s signature dish. And in a borough that’s often wrongly defined by strip mall pizzerias and Chinese take-out, there’s more than a few hidden gems.Buddha Lounge Chilean Sea Bass This char-broiled bass is served with sauteed baby bok choy, black coconut sticky rice and an orange miso sauce. $26 2945 Veterans Road West 718.608.2188 www.buddhaloungeny.com Carols Café Beef Wellington with a Mushroom Duxelle in Pastry This seared filet is covered with mushrooms, cooked with shallots, garlic, sage and tarragon, and flamed in Madeira. The beef and mushrooms are then wrapped in pastry and tied with a scallion ribbon. The dish is served with pan deglazed sauce, haystack mashed potatoes, and rum glazed carrots. $34.95 1571 Richmond Road 718.979.5600 www.carolscafe.com Nove Veal Loin Sous-vide Served over soft polenta, this slow-cooked cut is decorated with oven-dried grapes, doused in a gorgonzola sauce and finished off with dehydrated pear chips. The dish is topped off with a sprinkling of black sea salt, hazelnut dust, and parmesan air. $26 3900 Richmond Avenue 718.227.3286 www.noveitalianbistro.com Angelina’s Ristorante Filetto di Manzo This bone-in cut of Filet Mignon is served with baby carrots, chanterelle mushrooms, and a pomegranate sauce. $40 399 Ellis Street 718.227.2900 www.angelinasristorante.com ES-CA Panko Breaded Boneless Pork Chops These boneless chops are coated in Panko breadcrumbs and served in a hot cherry pepper sauce with sautéed string beans and roasted sweet potatoes. One of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, this choice has remained on the menu since the restaurant opened in 2002. $20 1559 Richmond Road 718.980.5006 www.esca-si.com España Royale Suckling Pig This crispy skinned suckling pig is roasted and served with broccoli rabe and tomato. Its flavor is complemented nicely by the restaurant’s paella, which can be purchased separately. $23.95 1657 Richmond Road 718-.980.4444 www.espanaroyale.com Filippo’s Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella, this seasonal appetizer is offered as one of the restaurant’s specials at least five days a week. “Customers come in and request them,” co-owner Vincent Lia said. The dish is egg-battered, pan-fried and served with a tri-color salad. $12.95 1727 Richmond Road 718.668.9091 www.filipposrestaurant.com Fushimi Tenderloin of Beef Two Ways Two filets of beef tenderloin are seasoned with fresh thyme, garlic, grated ginger, soy caramel, and truffle wasabi butter, then covered in gingered shiitake mushrooms and served with yellow wax beans, sugar snap peas, asparagus, baby carrots, artichoke hearts, and other seasonal vegetables. $30 2110 Richmond Road 718.980.5300 www.fushimi-us.com Lorenzo’s Calamari Padella A crisp calamari, sauteed with sweet cherry peppers, pine nuts, sweet chili, soy sauce, and white balsamic vinegar, this appetizer essentially defines what Lorenzo’s unique menu is all about. “Calamari Padella is Lorenzo’s twist on traditional Italian fried calamari, combining the best of Italian and Asian flavors to give a sweet and tangy flavor,” noted Richard Nicotra, owner or Lorenzo’s Restaurant, Bar & Cabaret. $12 1100 South Avenue (In the Hilton Garden Inn) 718.477.2400 www.lorenzosdining.com Trattoria Romana Whole Wheat Penne with San Marzano Tomatoes, Roasted Vegetables, Jumbo Shrimp, and Goat Cheese When San Marzano tomatoes are in season, Trattoria Romana’s Chef Vittorio makes the most of them. Starting in late August and continuing throughout September and early October, the restaurant offers a hearty whole wheat pasta dish drenched in the rare chunky fruit, combined with mixed roasted vegetables, jumbo butterfly shrimp, and goat cheese —all drizzled in olive oil, garlic, and white wine sauce. $24.95 1476 Hylan Boulevard 718.980.3113 www.trattoriaromana.com Brioso Milanese Capricciosa This veal chop is pounded, then breaded and topped with a tri-color salad. $25.50 174 New Dorp Lane 718.667.1700 www.briosoristorante.com Fiore Di Mare Osso Buco This stew of veal shank is topped with leeks and sundried tomatoes and served over a flavorful Italian risotto. $30.95 227 Mansion Avenue 718.227.9771 www.fioredimaresi.com Takayama Sushi Lounge Chef’s Inspiration An assorted sushi platter of scambi lobster, kampachi, chu toro, kumamoto uni, aji, and sock eye salmon. Serves 2-3 people. $100 17 Page Ave., 718.227.8744 www.takayamanyc.com