If you’re down the shore – the Jersey Shore – there’s no better local place than Craig’s.
The food is very good and very eclectic. You can order anything from a sandwich to a burger to a full prix fixe meal. It’s open late and you can sit in the dining room or in the bar at any hour.
I’ve never had a disappointing meal there and I’ve been a patron for years.
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.
420 Higgins Avenue
Brielle, New Jersey 08730
This is not your ordinary restaurant or an ordinary restaurant review. This is the place that I like to call home. The food is great. The service is great. The people are great. Can you ask for anything more?
The first time I went to Due Amici was a few years ago when it was our friends’ turn to pick a restaurant for dinner. When Terry & Al said we were going out for Italian, John and I were more than skeptical. I make Italian food, grew up eating Italian food and consider myself an Italian food snob among other things.
After a few bites of my appetizer I knew that I was in love and kept going back again and again until I became a “regular” around the bar on Higgins Avenue. It’s a great place for dinner or drinks and apps. There’s even a Friday night jam complete with music and dancing. You have to check it out if you live locally or you are visiting the area.
Some of my favorite off the menu items are:
- Hot Antipasto for Two: a traditional hot antipasto with a taste of all your favorites
- Pasta Fagioli: garlicky and delicious
- Seafood Salad: an array of shrimp, calamari & scungilli in a lovely Italian vinaigrette
- Sautéed Broccoli Rabe: need I say more?
- Tortellini Bolognese: my personal comfort food – delicious
- Capellini Boscomare: angel hair with shrimp, arugula, shiitake mushrooms and plum tomatoes
- Chicken Pepadew: with pepadew peppers, long-stemmed artichokes, white beans, asparagus in a white wine reduction
- Veal Chop or Steak Arrabbiata: Try this spicy wonder with an oreganata crust.
The specials are delicious. I love their chicken special with portobello mushrooms, sliced sausage in a Madeira reduction sauce served over broccoli rabe. Due Amici’s cannelloni is a comfort food must taste and the stacked polenta appetizer special is amazing. The seafood tower with lobster, shrimp, crab and oyster and clams on the half shell is perfect way to start off your dinner.
I dropped in the other day and had a pasta special with linguine, scallops, shrimp and chunks of crabmeat in a Pici-Paci sauce which to my surprise, was very light, not at all heavy. I can’t wait until they have it again so I can order it.
So take a ride to Brielle New Jersey, sit at the granite bar or at a cozy table, maybe even by the fireplace, order a glass of Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio and get ready to enjoy a great Italian meal at a great family owned restaurant. Buon Appetito!
© 2010 J. H-M. and CultureChoc2010.