Staten Island Dining

by Julie Besonen, 07/31/2013

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  • San Rasa
    226 Bay St., 718-420-0027, Tompkinsville, Staten Island
    Staten Island has long welcomed new immigrant populations, with one of the latest waves coming from Sri Lanka. A number of good Sri Lankan spots have sprung up, many of them focused on take-out, but for a sit-down meal Islanders swear by San Rasa. It's a cinch to check out for yourself since it's only a few blocks' walk from the St. George ferry terminal and wonderfully cheap, including bottles of wine starting at $12. A souvenir shop's worth of inventory—baskets, bowls, woven placemats, elephant carvings—decorate the cozy dining room. Sri Lankan food is similar to Indian, with lots of curries and biryani, but “hoppers” set it apart: a hopper is a thin, bowl-shaped rice-flour pancake filled with egg and your choice of curry (beef, chicken, fish, lamb, prawn). Chef Sanjay Handapangoda also prepares lamprie, a Dutch colonial specialty with a little bit of everything (curry, rice, eggplant, plantains, cashews), wrapped in a banana leaf the size of a dish towel. Sundays feature an all-you-can-eat $11 buffet.

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