Staten Island EatBeat - Chinar On The Island
Owners | Tea Chernyavsky & Herman Herskovic
Opened | 2001
Seating capacity | 195
Signature dish | Char-Grilled Shish Kebabs
Tea’s Favorite Dish: | Octopus & Avocado Salad
Herman’s Favorite Dish: | St. Peter Fish
Hours of operation: Every day: 11a.m. – 11 p.m.
Fun Fact: The restaurant was once the site of the St. Cuthbert Chapel
For more than a decade, Chinar On The Island has brought Mediterranean cuisine and atmosphere to diners in South Beach and across Staten Island. With a menu full of various forms of lamb, duck, kebabs and seafood prepared in Mediterranean fashion, and golden trees with a running fountain as a centerpiece of the main dining room, dining at Chinar is the closest any borough resident can come to an authentic southern European meal experience, close to home.
“The restaurant is modeled after a Mediterranean backyard. Our ambiance is something different from what customers are used to,” co-owner Herman Herskovic says. “Everything from the stones to the fountain and the sky on the ceiling gives it that backyard feeling. But serving quality food is important, too.”
Herman, a Hungarian native who lives in Great Kills, bought his half of the restaurant after it was damaged by Sandy in 2012. “I came here often, and I wanted to join in and build it back,” he says. By restoring the restaurant to its original form, Chinar is continuing to serve its signature meals in its unique ambiance.
Friends and families are encouraged to order a variety of dishes and pass them around the table, a staple way of enjoying a Mediterranean meal. “Most of the menu is served as family style, where everyone sits together and shares the same food,” says co-owner Tea Chernyavsky, also of Great Kills. “But we offer an à la carte menu as well.”
Some of the signature appetizers on Chinar’s menu include an Eastern Salad with hummus, baba ganoush, eggplant caviar, and Chicken Liver Paté on crostini. For a main course, Chinar offers braised short ribs, roasted duck, lamb shanks, and various types of pilafs baked with chicken, lamb, and fruit, as well as several kinds of char-grilled shish kebabs. For seafood options, Branzino, Trout, and St. Peter fi sh are served whole, grilled, or fried. All of Chinar’s dishes are freshly prepared by the kitchen staff, and vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are available.
If you are planning a private party, Chinar has a separate banquet room with a rich history. The room, decorated in Mediterranean style tapestries, artifacts and trinkets, is the site of the former St. Cuthbert Chapel, believed to have been built more than 100 years ago. The ceiling of the room is made from the hull of a ship, and several stained-glass windows were restored to their original state. Adjacent to the room is Chinar’s wine cellar, which was formerly the church’s bell tower. “We kept the character of the building. We don’t just have four walls, we have a history,” Tea says.
A live saxophone player performs in the main dining room on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons, and a private stage is available for the catering room. Chinar is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day and also offers free delivery to anywhere in the borough, so stop by or call for an authentic Mediterranean meal.