The island of Staten is not exactly blessed with great dining. Other than Sri Lankan I cant think of any reason to pay the hefty toll to go there. Did you ever wonder why Enoteca Maria and Vida are on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list for what seems like forever. The French inspectors are just way too busy to make room for Staten Island on their schedule. Some may say pizza is another good reason to come, and to those I’d say you can find just as good or better in the other boroughs. You just need to know where to look to find them.
Sim Sim is not another reason to travel all the way to the Midland section of the island, but it’s a solid alternative, and new experience for the islanders. While Manhattan is not exactly known for great Uzbek (I cant think of one decent), you do have plenty of good ones in south Brooklyn (Kashkar Café, Nargis to name a few). But the island residents have finally a legitimate Uzbek that can perhaps open the doors to some competition. And competition, as always, is the healthiest recipe. When you bump into the lone Indian restaurant in Pocatello, Idaho, you can bet your Vindaloo that you probably did not exactly discover a jewel. But Sim Sim is closer to the exception than the rule
At the helm in the kitchen is an Uyghur cook (ethnic group living in villages all over Asia), dishing out all the Uzbek classics… Manti, Samsa, Plov (this one with raisins) and those chicken kebabs that require that special Uzbek touch. The Uzbeks know how to grill em. The cook comes early in the morning to start the preparations that includes pulled Lagman noodles, at this point only available in soup form. The place is small and homey. Freshly renovated and decorated to resemble a casual Uzbek hang out place. The owner is Russian who operated the previous incarnation of the space, but now somewhat bravely, trying to insert some freshness into the island. No alcohol permit here, so bring your vodka, though a solid Kompot (Russian fruit punch) is always available