December 5, 2010

Staten Island’s Tiki: Jade Island

Filed under: My Travels,New York,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 4:03 pm

After our visit to the American Museum of Natural History, the whole family went above and beyond in their love and support of my tiki obsession: they schlepped with me through rush hour Manhattan traffic to go to… a strip mall in Staten Island.

The entry of Jade Island in Staten Island

Staten Island has one of the better examples of old-school tiki in the northeast, at Jade Island, which opened in 1972. Jade Island recently made an appearance on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, when he dined there with David Johansen of New York Dolls and Buster Poindexter fame. Bourdain describes it as “untouched by time, unsullied by irony,” which is almost true. The tikis have been painted in horrible, bright primary colors that make the Marquesan-style carvings look like frogs. The lighting at Jade Island is magnificent: there are pufferfish lamps, plenty of old Orchids of Hawaii lamps in a variety of styles, and the room is ringed with wonderful, large, back-lit photographic tropical scenes. Sadly, the effect is countered by some unnecessary bright halogen spot lighting from the ceiling. If the room was just a bit darker, the whole room could feel downright magical. But the quibbles are small, really, and Jade Island’s hut-like booths, bamboo and rattan, numerous waterfall fountains, and scads of tikis make this spot pretty darned special.


A flaming pupu platter

My husband and I have been jonesing for some Jersey-quality Chinese food (here in San Francisco, we miss that inauthentic touch). The food at Jade Island fit the bill perfectly. The drinks were sort of middling: not stellar, but not at all terrible, and authentic in a fading-tiki-bar kind of a way. Best of all, they’re served in tiki mugs, so the boys and I all got to add one to our collections. The servers were all jovial Chinese men, who made us feel very welcome. If we lived anywhere near Jade Island, we would definitely be regulars.

Best of all, Jade Island knows the way to my heart: they hand out moist towelettes. They don’t have their logo on them, unfortunately, but they did have logo’ed breath mints with the check. Aw, Jade Island… I love you, too.

An after-dinner mint from Jade Island

See the full gallery of Jade Island pictures in Critiki.

4 Responses to “Staten Island’s Tiki: Jade Island”

  1. Tweets that mention Humu Kon Tiki : Staten Island’s Tiki: Jade Island -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Humuhumu, Devlin Donnelly. Devlin Donnelly said: If I'm ever in Staten Island I'm going! Humu Kon Tiki : Staten Island’s Tiki: Jade Island http://goo.gl/qBQ9p #tiki #exotica [...]

  2. Mirabelle Says:

    Next time I’ll come to the States, I’ll know what kind of places I’ll visit :) Tiki rocks!

  3. Kimmy Kupcakes Says:

    I’ll have to be sure to check this place out next time I’m in NY.

  4. Jade Island (Donovan, Book 2) | The eConsumer Product Reviews Says:

    [...] BangleGeorges GalleryHumu Kon Tiki : Staten Island’s Tiki: Jade Island ul.legalfooter li{ list-style:none; float:left; padding-right:20px; } [...]

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Humuhumu
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Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

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