How Do You Say Tiki in Staten Island?
Guy at end of the bar to guy on neighboring stool: "How
do you say Tony Romo in Spanish?"
Answer: "Mark Sanchez."
The small separate but open-doored front portion of
Jade Island devoted to drinking (not to be confused with the main event, a strip
mall restaurant serving a Chinese-American Polynesian amalgam to 90% locals/10%
Zipcar drivers) is really a sports bar that happens to serve tiki drinks. And
to steer from bottles of Bud Light or practiced classics with mixes at the
ready is to ask for trouble–or at least a suspicious glance. Don't even think about
Batavia arrack or allspice dram.
I did not get that joke, by the way. And I'm not
convinced that following football (I do not) ups the hilarity.
There may not be more than five patrons on a Friday
night, but the odds are they will all be middle-aged men, not unfriendly, even
the one who talks to himself and rides a bike, not for fitness or carbon
offsets but in the way that grown men sometimes do in the suburbs, perhaps the
result of poor decision-making, maybe due to a banning from the accepted mode
of transport. They talk of Jose Tejas, the popular (I've attempted to go three
times in the past year, most recently this weekend and can never bear the
hour-plus waits. Chevy's is a compromise, but they do serve Bulldogs,
i.e. margaritas with shrunken bottles of Corona tipped in) Tex-Mex restaurant on
Route 1, in the nearby part of New Jersey, my favorite part, that blurs with
Staten Island, despite the Goethals Bridge separating them.
Ask for a Harvey Wallbanger and
invoke the wrath of the bartender, Chinese by way of Hong Kong, who may have
been there as long as the NYC-mandated signs warning they will card, dated from
the '80s (the restaurant, itself, can't be much older; it's not a mid-century
relic). "Those are old drinks!" Never mind that those old drinks are
listed on the menu. I knew better to even look at that section after an
encounter with a jordan almond blue Grasshopper and being denied a Pink Squirrel on my first visit five years ago.
Even something as mundane as Jack Daniels, requested
by a regular, has the potential for exasperation and consequential trip to the
basement to look for a bottle. Like I said, beer or Scorpions.
Bartender: "How do you say Mark Sanchez in
Answer: "Tony Romo!"
Er, ok. You couldn't accuse the
bartender of being entirely humorless.
Jade Island * 2845 Richmond Ave., Staten Island, NY