In the food-focused minds of Anthony Brasco,
Pat Desimone, and Vincent DiMino, the cyclical restaurant culture of Staten Island needed a little kick. Yes, there was pasta…lots of it. But what about the connois- seur who wanted something spicier than your average, run-of-the-mill ravioli?
To them, there was a need for something upscale, a hunger for something completely out of the ordinary, a void begging to be filled with an eatery that was any- thing but Italian. After years of planning and delibera- tion, Cabo was born.
“This was an idea that we had been tossing around for more than 15 years,” noted Brasco, speaking of his part- nership with his cousin and best friend. “Staten Island was lacking that city vibe…lacking an upscale restaurant with out-of-the-ordinary dishes and a menu that really offered something different.”
Their theme? A tasteful fusion of Mexican and Spanish influences. A risk? Maybe, but it was a gourmet genre that the partners were partial to, and a venue they had great success with in the past.
“I have two places in Manhattan, one of which is the Caliente Cab Company on 33rd Street,” Brasco said. “It’s a totally different animal than Cabo: more Tex-Mex, less formal. But it definitely helped inspire a lot of what we’re doing here.”
And what Brasco and company are bringing to Page Avenue is decidedly different.
“When it comes to food, Staten Islanders are steeped in tradition,” Brasco said. “They like their pasta and steak, so we kept those items and added some Mexican flare.”
The result is offerings like citrus glazed pork, braised short ribs in a chipotle tomato sauce, chile rubbed steak, agave salmon, and filet mignon mini soft tacos with caramelized onions, plantains, and black beans. Appetizer choices include mussels sautéed with tequila, lime and jalapenos and Maryland lump crab cakes served with chipotle mayo.
“We serve pasta in a chipotle cream sauce and hearty steak and fish entrees with notes of Mexican flare,” Brasco said. “There’s Alambre skewers (mari- nated meat or fish skewered and grilled with onion chorizo, tomato and bell peppers), fish tacos, and an arugula salad with grilled shrimp. It’s a great blend of choices for all different types of tastes.”
Brasco, a self-taught chef who’s been in the busi- ness for almost 25 years, splits his time between Cabo and Caliente, alternating days with his cousin and long-time business partner Pat Desimone.
“I went to school for accounting,” Brasco said. “But when I graduated, Pat and I decided to open up a pizzeria in Battery Park City. There was nothing there then, so it was a risk, but we had great success and we’ve been partners in this business ever since.”
Cabo’s general manager, Vincent DiMino, a friend of Brasco’s for almost two decades, worked on Wall Street for 24 years before entering the res- taurant business.
“It was something that I always dreamed of doing but never took the chance,” DiMino said. “I worked for Citibank and took sever- ance in 2009. Anthony asked me to join this venture and something told me this was my chance.”
Together, Brasco, Desimone and DiMino helped build Cabo from the ground up.
“We wanted to fill the space with color, create a Miami vibe with booth seating draped in floor-to-ceiling curtains, a decoupage glass tiled bar in bright blue, red, and lime green,” DiMino explained. “The bar features a huge waterfall that pours from glass and Italian tile, stone walls lend a rustic feel and a giant iguana looms over the dining area. The color, the lighting, the ambiance—that’s what Cabo is all about.”
In the kitchen, there’s a strong focus on fresh. “Everything is made to order,” DiMino said. “Our guacamole is shucked fresh from the avocado and crushed with a pestle in a lava molcajete bowl.”
A range of 24 house special drinks, including the restaurant’s own special recipe margaritas and sangria, is what’s happening behind the bar. “There’s multiple margaritas, including a jalapeno margarita and a Caborita, which features a bottle of Corona right within the drink,” DiMino said. “We also have a full menu of tequilas and sev- eral imported and domestic beers.”
“Our kitchen is usually open until midnight seven nights a week,” DiMino concluded. “But the party usually goes on until 3 a.m.”
Staten Island, NY 10309
718 966 6700
Cuisine: Mexican with some Spanish influences Hours: Sunday – Saturday, 12 p.m.-12 a.m.
Most nights the kitchen closes at midnight, but on weekends, the party often extends until 3am
Price: Appetizers, $6.95 to $16.95
All major credit cards accepted
Service: Friendly, courteous and professional
Bar: Full bar with a focus on margaritas and sangria, plus a large selection of tequilas and both imported and domestic beer
Parking: Valet, street
Private Parties: Yes