Out of Town - Staten Island
Every so often one is privy to a dining surprise. Imagine driving down a somewhat desolate and reserved street in Staten Island at dusk - a few two-story apartment buildings, some small businesses; let’s call it blue collar - and taking a chance on a storefront restaurant. Bayou [1072 Bay St., Staten Island, NY 10305, (718) 273-4383 www.bayoustatenisland.com] was the name and Cajun was its game. We walked in and were greeted by the melodius tones of the “Wednesday Night Jazz” guitarist who picked an acoustic Gibson rather deftly. Mardi Gras masks, knick-knacks, beads and other New Awlins memorabilia impart festiveness; the size of the restaurant (10 tables) engendered warmth. It was, as if by the act of entering, we were let in on a secret.
Bayou is ambitious, creative and authentic. You’ll find jumbalaya, a respectable gumbo, blackened catfish and red beans n rice on the menu along with salads, soups and an array of enticing entrees. I opted for alligator fajitas, which meant alligator sausage this particular evening - the sausage was memorable: spicy, flavorful and cut with 5 % pork. Order it and the gumbo as I did and you can’t go wrong. An adjacent table swore by the ribs and the pork chops, they even offered us the balance of their sangria. Like I said, it’s a warm place filled with down to earth Staten Islanders. Down to earth food too. Go.