399 Ellis Street
Staten Island, NY 10307
When my husband told me that he was taking me out for my birthday, I thought he was going to take me to a French restaurant in Montclair that I was dying to go to. I was wrong.
A while back we heard about an Italian restaurant called Angelina’s in Staten Island on Brindiamo, Ornella Fado’s restaurant review show. We fell in love with the atmosphere immediately and Angelina’s became my birthday surprise.
Staten Island is really close to the Jersey Shore. It took us no time to get there. At first you think that the ever reliable GPS (cough, cough) is taking you into a creepy industrial area that can’t possibly be the right place, but as you continue down the long, dark road, you discover Angelina’s Ristorante at the very end of the street.
First we were greeted by its super friendly valet parkers who were, let’s say, really cute and personable. We walked up the stairs and confirmed our reservation for 9:00 then made our way over to a packed bar. The staff was very accommodating and moved their bar station over so we would have room to stand comfortably. We ordered two 007s and started looking around.
The bartenders were friendly and genuine even though they were extremely busy. The clientele was one that I prefer: slightly mature, Italian, ladies dressed to the nines and upscale. I felt at home. WE felt at home.
After polishing off five 007s we were led up to the third floor and seated at our table. The waiter came over immediately and place napkins in our laps and asked for our drink order. We requested a wine list and ordered a Francis Coppola’s Director’s Cut Pinot Noir.
When our server came back with an aerator and an aerating carafe I thought I’d died and gone to wine Heaven. Not only did he aerate and decant the wine but her aerated the sample pour as well! It was titillating.
With an array on breads placed on the table, some eggplant caponata and a teaser wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano we were ready for a flavor explosion. I ordered the pasta special as an appetizer: Garganelli with shrimp, exotic mushrooms, peas and truffle oil. The flavors were so complex and interesting I savored every bite. John ordered the Baked Clam Oregonata and the super spicy hot stuffed banana peppers that I must say were delicious.
As a main course I had the bone-in Filet Mignon special with a red wine reduction that rivaled any filet I had ever tasted. My husband ordered Bistecca alla Siciliana which was lightly coated in bread crumbs oregonata and olive oil, green olives and peperoncini. This was delightful too and though stuffed, we ordered dessert.
A double espresso and a red velvet cupcake for me. Coffee and fried banana cheesecake for John. The cheesecake rocked but the cupcake fell short of my expectations. It was good but a little dry. I would definitely order the cheesecake again.
Music was playing from below as we walked down the stairs to head back to Jersey. The place was still packed and the parking lot, complete with a white Rolls, was jammed as well. The experience we had at Angelina’s was a wonderful taste orgy for both the mouth and brain. The food was fabulous and the service impeccable. The family-runned atmosphere was refreshing and noticeable.
It’s too bad that Angelina’s is not around the corner because I’d be there every night – well, maybe that’s a good thing. In any case Angelina’s Ristorante gets my vote for food, service and atmosphere. Try it out. You won’t regret it.
© 2010 Jacqueline Horuzy-Maffucci and CultureChoc2010.