Monthly Archives: July 2012

East Village Quick Bites and Merchants House

Pomme Frites – First time for me.   Its all about the sauces here.. tried a variety of them.   Mango chutney and garlic mayo were good, organic truffle not so much, Vietnamese pineapple tastes weird at first but was growing on me. I think I prefer well seasoned fries overall more.   I wouldn’t go out of my way to come here.

Mamouns Falafel – Very good falafel – nice and crispy on the outside.   Beware of the hot sauce.   I love hot sauce as much as the next guy but this is “lower lip burning” hot.   I don’t know why it’s always the lower lip burning.   Lamb Shawarma was good but we had better in Brooklyn.

Took a small food break to visit the Merchants House,  the oldest free-standing family home in NYC.   Well preserved furniture and interesting stories not only about the family but also about the poor Irish servants at the time.   You will only give this place proper justice if you go through the rooms while reading the well informative and sometimes humorous booklet they hand to you.   Check it out.  After Mamouns we explored the 300 years old St Marks on the Bowery church and went back to eating

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Staten Island – Nonnas Gone Wild at Enoteca Maria

Thats what you get when you combine Italian nonnas and Nirvana (as in smells like teen spirit Nirvana).  A party!  a slightly unconfirtable one but still.

This Enoteca (wine shop for those scoring at home) comes with an interesting concept.  Nonnas representing different Italian regions taking turn each day of the week cooking.  There’s a set menu on one side and today’s nonna menu on the other.  You can see the stories and more about the concept on their site.  What you also see on the site is something probably 98.3% of the folks dining there miss.  Below the concept, the cooks, the menu, the wine you got this…

The Music: Our music selection is an eclectic compilation from the past and the present: classical, rock, jazz, world, and everything in between. Sometimes…it gets loud!”

He’s not kidding!!  Much to the surprise of some older folks, families, singles, pretty much everybody.  Arguing is useless as I’ve witnessed on a few occassions.

But I’m here for the food.  Sampled quite a few after 2 visits and these were the highlights:  Burrata – Smooth, creamy    mozzarella goodness.  Meatballs – Very flavorful.  Rabbit stew – Tender, meaty deliciousness.  Didnt see the rabbit on the second visit so must have been a specialty of one of the nonnas.  I would time my next visit to coincide with the rabbit nonna.

On an island packed with all sorts of Italian establishments, Enoteca Maria is the only one that has that authentic menu I can only see in other boroughs.   Rock on Nonnas!!

Photo courtesy of Glen Dicrocco  (I’m guessing to the tunes of Iron Maiden in the backgound 👿 )

Categories: New York City, Staten Island | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Staten Island – Beso – Manhattan Quality Spanish

Another proud member of Julian Gaxholi’s new Staten Island empire.  This guy is on a mission to transform Staten Island into…. Queens and already roughly .0003% there.   

Beso has to be one of the better options on the island.   Its fairly small and loud with many waiting for a table by the bar so not the best option for families although I’ve seen a few.   Expect to wait about an hour on a Saturday night.   They only take reservations for 5 or more.

You got your normal fare of delicious tapas (A fancy word for “We have a LOT of appetizers” – I’m surprised the local diners arent catching up).  None were disappointing on the one night we visited.  Perfectly grilled and nicely seasoned lamb chops, pleasantly citrucy fried goat cheese with honey.  Crab cakes got more of mixed reaction but I was firmly on the ‘like’ side.  On the main side of things, a very nicely done skirt steak and a juicy fall off the bone Pork osso buco were the standouts.

On an island packed with spanish restaurants, Beso may very well be the Best.  Well done Julian!!

http://www.besonyc.com/

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Staten Island’s best – Bayou

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.

Categories: New York City, Staten Island | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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