Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Carmen’s Restaurant: A Taste of Spain With a View of Raritan Bay

Staten Island may be known for their pizza and Italian food, but we can also lay claim to a nice variety of restaurants whose specialties span the globe.

Bienvenido a Carmen’s Restaurant! A staple of Staten Island for many years, this Spanish-Mexican restaurant is located at 750 Barclay Avenue, off Hylan Blvd., just south of Richmond Ave, and offers patrons absolutely stunning views. Carmen’s is located right on the water and gives their customer’s the option to either dine al fresco on their outside deck or enjoy their meal in the comfort of the dining room while watching the waves through the floor to ceiling windows. Whichever location you choose, make sure you order a pitcher of sangria. While not the best sangria I’ve ever had, it is certainly one of the better examples that I’ve had from around the island. And even though I am a fan of red wine, I have to say that the white sangria is the better of the two, with a much sweeter and more distinct fruity taste.

Carmen’s is probably best known for their authentic Paella Valenciana, which is such a large dish that 2 people splitting it will still take home leftovers. The shrimp, scallops, muscles, clams, chicken and sausage all come together in one pot to create a perfect Spanish Paella that would leave true Valencians smiling. And if you still believe that there’s something missing, you have the option to order the Paella Valenciana with lobster. While going to Carmen’s simply for the Paella is reason enough, they offer an extensive menu that touches on all the major food groups. Plenty of seafood entrees like mariscada, shrimp, lobster, clams, scallops, and crab legs could all be had in any one of Carmen’s delicious homemade sauces. These sauces include green, ajillo (a creamy garlic base), white (brandy and white wine), diablo and creole. My favorites are the white and green sauces. You also have a choice of fish dishes like filet of sole, salmon and red snapper. And for all you carnivores out there, Carmen’s even offers an extensive list of Spanish-Mexican meat dishes which include pork chops, veal, sirloins, filet mignons and chicken. You could also enjoy enchiladas, tacos and burritos from the Mexican side of the menu. Most of the entrees are in the $18.95-$22.95 range with some lobster, crab and filet mignon dishes creeping up into the $34.95 range.

All in all, Carmen’s offers great food at reasonable prices. The stunning views and Spanish charm only add to the experience and help to ensure your time here is muy excelente.

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