Great dining in Staten Island was pretty much an oxymoron until Julian Gaxholi showed up to the scene. Opening the first New Orleans style creole eatery in SI may require some guts but by the look of the packed dining room it just requires great execution.
On a recent visit we quickly witnessed the kids menu disappear after the kids gave the hostess the stare of death. Mussels and Alligator balls please. Yes, they like Alligator. Its not normal I know. Much to the chagrin of my wallet the kid menu days had a short span. Mussels are always good here and the Alligator balls are tasty but they become less so once you try their more attractive cousin, the Jambalaya rice Balls. Those balls packed with so much flavor, like a preview to what comes next (the jambalaya) Andouille sausage, spices and other goodies. Heavenly! We also sampled the chicken wings as well which were good but that Blue cheese sauce that came with it stole the show. Like a standalone chunky blue cheese salad, Yum!
On a previous visit we enjoyed the Crayfish Ettouffee since I dont get to eat much Crayfish here in NYC but I much prefer the Jambalaya. That seafood Jambalaya puts all the Paellas on the island to shame. Scallops, shrimp, mussels, crawfish and Andouille sausage simmered in Creole Tomato sauce with rice = Mardi Gras in your mouth. And then there’s the Seafood Gone Wild dish. More like the casseroly, milder version of the Jambalaya. Moist and flavorful seafood goodness.
For dessert the banana bread pudding held its own. The better the food looks, the more likely we forget to take pictures, sorry.
Bayou is Staten Island’s best according to this blogger.