Our goldfish Ziggy Jr. is not well. He hasn’t eaten in 2 days, he is slow to react to disturbances and stimuli, and his poop has sort of a mahogany tone to it. Our history with previous Ziggy jr’s indicate that he does not have much time left.
What Ziggy Jr. desperately needs is a meal at Vida (OMG I can just see Vida’s owner rolling her eyes at this transition :roll:). Vida has all the ingredients for a fun meal with the family. It got that nice neighborhoody vibe, quirky waiters, and home cooking that is better than mama’s. Ok, cooking better than my mama is not exactly a stretch (thankfully my mom does not read this blog, nor does she know I have a blog, or knows what a blog is) but Silva Popaz, Vida’s chef/owner sure knows her stuff. Vida is a chef’s restaurant. When the chef de cuisine is out, the restaurant is closed. So many more known establishments in the city don’t follow this rule.
Reading the menu at Vida is like visiting Disney’s Epcot. It’s as eclectic as a menu can get. Between the Asian style shrimp, Gumbo, Hummus, chicken Francaise, and the rest of it, all major continents are well represented.
We started with the always reliable Vida bites — pulled pork, pico de galo and avocado sauce on bread. Another regular for us is the mussels with cilantro, shallots, garlic, and white wine. This decadent sauce normally screams for some serious finger dipping, until they bring more bread. I wasnt quick to wash my hands following the meal.
For main the wonderful special Butternut Squash Lasagna with marsala reduction well demonstrated Silva’s talent and originality. The marsala, just like with Scarpetta’s foie gras ravioli added nice intensity to the dish.
My feeling of uncertainty after not getting my usual gumbo dish this time and ordering something I normally never do, did not last long. The special chicken stuffed with sausage, spinach and mushrooms was outstanding. Perfectly crisped skin with that savory filling made every morsel regret sharing the dish with Mrs Ziggy.
The kids were enjoying their linguine Fra Diavolo with shrimp, calamari, mussels, and Asian style hanger steak. Sorry about the quality of the pictures which I blame on lack of lighting, and lack of skill
I normally get the bread pudding for dessert but this time I was convinced to try the Tiramisu cheesecake. Wowser! Perfect finish to one of the best meals we had in Staten Island. Is wowser an acceptable food blog word I wonder? I’m still new to this blogging thing and I dont want to embarrass myself.
Silva gets much of her culinary influences from her trips around the world. A recent trip to Morocco can almost assure a bigger arsenal of exotic spices and perhaps a nice Lamb Tagine in the near future.
Vida up until recently was the only restaurant in Staten Island included on the coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand list. Its like a michelin star for affordable neighborhood joints. The excellent Enoteca Maria has now joined the list for 2012. If Vida is not Staten Island’s best, she is not far behind.
Recommended dishes: Vida Bites, Mussels, Gumbo, Stuffed Chicken, Tiramisu cheesecake