>> Randiwa | Eat the World NYC

02 May 2019



Do you remember the original San Rasa down on Bay Street in Tompkinsville? The spot that is now a Senegalese restaurant? Before it briefly moved up the hill in St. George, it was cooking pretty wonderful foods and even had a lovely beer garden of all things! Close to the ferry, it was like heaven on earth Staten Island. When it moved, it changed hands and the location just was not as nice, closing its doors after a short time.

The chef/owner of that original San Rasa is back here much further west on the island in Bulls Head, conveniently right off a Staten Island Expressway exit. Open since the end of 2016, fortunes finally aligned to have a meal here and it was a true regret to have waited so long. He seems just as talented as ever, although unfortunately there was no replication of the beer garden.

The awning proclaims "Sri Lankan & Indian Cuisine" but I do not remember seeing the latter, this may be a ploy to attract some of the less adventurous islanders. Quite a thorough portion of the Sinhalese side of Sri Lanka is presented on the menu here, many return visits could reward new dishes and flavors.

In the mood for the black lamb curry, an order of hoppers ($15, above) was placed with it. You can also order curries on their own with sides of basmati rice, but hoppers are more representative of how you might eat it in Sri Lanka. An order comes with five, one of which has an egg cooked inside, perfectly runny when punctured. Tear off pieces of the delicate "bowls" and scoop chunks of meat and curry to eat. These are made with fermented rice flour but given a slight sweetness from coconut milk.

It is the curry itself that is "black" and not the lamb, a result of intense roasting of the curry powder and addition of black pepper. The resulting dish may not be completely devoid of color, but it is far from devoid in flavor as well, full of herbs and a nice level of heat if you asked for it that way.

My travels in Sri Lanka were filled with evenings outside eating freshly stir-fried dishes of "devilled" meats, and on this night the memories of those sweat-inducing plates was enough to call for another order. This was one of the easiest ways to find a quick meal, and ubiquitous anywhere south of where the island gets more Tamil.

Most of those plates were delicious, while some were overwhelming with freshly sliced peppers full of seeds. When our server here in Staten Island asked about heat levels, I was sure an order at the top level would not be too bad, not like those back in Sri Lanka that actually felt like they had been possessed by the devil.

While not quite at those levels, the dish was not afraid to bring the heat. As always, this is accompanied by sweetness and a slight tang in all devilled dishes, creating bites that go to all corners of your mouth. It gets served with a nice big side of rice just in case.

Next time here, orders should include biriyani, godamba roti, other curries, kottu roti, and some dishes from the entire of page of "Sri Lankan-Chinese" they offer. Randiwa is offering a comprehensive look at the daily appetites of Sinhalese Sri Lankans.

Randiwa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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