Several months back, after coming across a wayward notebook where I made a list of places to go, foods to try, I planned a foodie outing for his birthday. Since it went off smashingly-- and we would up spending far less going to 3 separate places over the course of the day instead of one, expensive 'sit down' place-- we've been trying to do that ever since.
And, after our recent trip to Providence, Rhode Island, we decided we'd start blogging about it. Once Yelp recognizes me as a user, I'll start posting my reviews there under the eateries specifically.
So, to start, here are two brief reviews for local eateries near where we live in Staten Island.
Eggers Ice Cream Parlor
7437 Amboy RdTottenville location.
Staten Island, NY
Staten Island, NY
Many reviews on Yelp are positive-- claiming it's the best ice cream in NYC. No flipping way is this the best New York City has to offer in terms of ice cream & their service leaves a LOT to be desired. Clearly NOT the best in Staten Island-- nor the best in NYC. Folks giving good reviews are just mystified about the old fashioned decor-- which is just this historic building-- or maybe their splashier location on the other end of Staten Island. Eggers didn't design this location. The place has had the same wallpaper and tin ceiling since it was a pharmacy decades ago. The photo below doesn't show the front end of the store that hasn't changed in decades.
I've been a resident in the area for 30 years and have gone in here twice. The first time, years ago, I got the same reception and actually wound up leaving. This time I sat because my friend had already ordered and I figured I didn't want to walk out on her. I also figured I'd give them another try.
My first experience, my husband and I walked in and I asked for lemon sherbet. The young woman behind the counter said they had orange. So I asked for that-- she said they had no more. Just before I ordered, a group of about half a dozen teens came in the store to wait on line just behind my husband and I. The girl may have been friendly with the group since they knew her by name and she kept rolling her eyes at them about us. I didn't want that to deter us from ordering some ice cream, so my husband tried to place his order-- pistachio-- which they didn't have any more of either. My final attempt, something I knew they'd have, cookies and creme, was met with the same response: alas they had no more of that either. We walked out. Clearly she didn't want to be bothered with our order and wanted to take care of her friends.
This time, this past weekend, I went in with a friend. She ordered and walked down the counter. I waited for the other young lady behind the counter to take my order, but instead, she started cleaning and generally puttering around not making eye contact with me. A few minutes passed, while my friend's order was being placed. Then another customer came in and the girl who had been ignoring me, started with that lady's order. I objected since I had been waiting for about 5 minutes already. She seemed annoyed and as though I was bothering her. All I said was that I had been waiting already. I was pleasant, but she seemed very short with me as I placed my simple order: a chocolate egg creme anda scoop of pralines and cream.
First, she didn't ask if I wanted the order to go or not, and just assumed I did-- so I got my order in styrofoam instead of in an old fashioned cup and ice cream dish-- which is part of the only allure of this place gone already before I ate a single bite. Then, she scoops the ice cream first, and puts together the egg cream while the ice cream is set on the back counter to melt. And it did melt-- it was sweltering in there despite the ancient a/c (which I remember being there from when it was a pharmacy when I was a kid, more than 20 years ago. Again, I didn't want to fuss. But the egg cream was horrible. It tasted like an alka seltzer with a dash of chocolate syrup. The ice cream was ok-- but melting quick.
Honestly, if you want ice cream and you're in Tottenville-- go down the block to Taste of Corona. They do mostly water and cream ices, but they have some damned fine ice cream. It's just not a sit-down place. It's an order window and eat your ice cream on the go. Eggers needs to update their decor (even just a paint job would be good; it's been the same various shades of green since it was a pharmacy) and get staff that knows how to treat their customers.
120 Bay St
Staten Island, NY 10301
It's been some time since I went to Cargo-- partly because they closed down for a while, were bought by an Island restauranteur, underwent some redesign (nothing major, just made the bathrooms more humane, opened up the place a bit so it's lighter and more airy, & arranged some really cool paintings inside) and reopened in recent months.
Cargo's food has been fair to good, and their drinks strong. That hasn't changed. The service has been good-- that unfortunately has. My friend ordered a pasta dish and bloody mary that she loved, except the drink was a wee bit on the strong side-- as usual. I had warned her, in all fairness.
I ordered a salad and a pulled pork sandwich, figuring any extra food I could take home for later. The salad was smaller than I expected and for some reason it was served immediately with 2 dishes. I guess the waitress made the assumption it was an appetizer. I put it aside waiting for my sandwich, nibbling a bit at it as we waited. My friend went to feed the meter maybe 20 minutes into our wait for our entree, when the waitress-- clearly her first waitressing gig-- asked if we wanted her to tell the chef to fire the entrees. I told her that she should have done so, since we had been waiting for almost a half hour-- and we were the only customers in the joint-- so there wasn't any backlog.
Inside of 10 minutes the entrees were served, and my pulled pork sandwich almost landed in my lap as she threw the plate on the table at me. I had to catch it to prevent it from falling completely, but alas, the top half of the roll, fixings and all, went down.
She had to ask if I wanted a replacement. At this point, I was getting annoyed. She did replace it-- with a sickly looking hamburger bun like you get in the supermarket. I guess I looked upset because a few minutes later the bartender asked if he could get me anything. I explained the bun situation & he remedied it.
On top of that, when we went in initially, the waitress asked for our drink orders before our rear-ends were in the seats. I just asked for water to start and to give me a few minutes. She never came back for my drink order and I had to flag her down to refill my little glass of water.
FOODWISE-- it was pretty good. The french fries are some of the best I've had-- homemade and thinly sliced. Very very good on their own. The pulled pork sandwich, once I got the matching bun, was also exceptional. Not overly sweet and while I'm not a BBQ expert, quite flavorful.
The salad-- looked marvelous with arugula, mango, strawberries, walnuts and blue cheese. But, it was too sweet. The strawberries reminded me of the sugary ones you get onto of fruit tarts-- sugar glaze and all. There wasn't much blue cheese and the mango wasn't ripe. It could have been better.
Overall-- since the restaurant has reopened, they should make sure the staff is well trained. The waitress may need to learn a bit and it shouldn't be so obvious that it's her first summer job. The food is the same-- fair to really very good. I would recommend it, but also tell you that there's an even better pub down by the courthouse-- one that knows how to serve drinks that won't inebriate you on the first sip.