Saturday, April 16, 2011

Traif in Brooklyn Again! Already the Early Front Runner for Best Meal in 2011!

So this is overall my fourth time to Traif since last fall (old review here) and probably my current favorite restaurant.  Strong words right?  Well, my brother has been to the restaurant about ten times in the same time frame and knows the chef owner at this point.  So it's no surprise that he chose Traif to celebrate his birthday!  It was the first time as well that we had a small family meal there, and the food was very very well received by my family.  

Traif's actual kitchen is tiny and is basically fully integrated into the dining room, sitting right behind the bar, yet it's amazing how they produce high quality food and rotate items in and out of the menu on almost a daily basis.  It also shows that the chef loves to try interesting and unique combinations of flavors and ingredients to keep things fresh, so it's no coincidence that they have a flatscreen by the bar showing nonstop reruns of Iron Chef., (the ORIGINAL Iron Chef mind you).

Enough banter... onto the birthday meal!

As always, since Traif doesn't really have soup on the menu there is always a free soup amuse bouche.   This time it's strawberry gazpacho, which is perfect for the spring.

Second app to come out was the butterfish carpaccio, served on top of seaweed.  And man,
the buttermilk was so silky.  Everyone loved this dish.

Next was the steak tartare, served with bone marrow, and toasted brioche.  The combination of 
all the flavors were amazing!  And wow, I could eat that crispy toast with everything!

Next is also a great dish that I had before.  Crispy pork belly with sardines, feta cheese, and shishito 
peppers.  Sounds like a weird combination but it totally works!

Next was a delish veggie dish.  Grilled brussel sprouts with grapes, cucumber, rice crackers,
and a light brothy dressing with Sriracha.  This was also really good; the grapes actually mixed well.

My cousin also ordered a chorizo and cheese dip, that came with apples and toast.  Simple
but effective.

Next up was a buffalo mozzarella salad.  The twist here was the cheese was topped with pomegranate relish/compote and a yogurt sauce underneath... just ingenious and more importantly, reallly goooood!

Probably my favorite dish of the night...squid ink risotto with octopus.  Man the textures was just so luxurious and the flavors were deep and the squid ink had a lot of body.

Mussels Hot Pot with shrimp and octopus.  This dish was ok; the broth was a lil tangy but also a bit too
salty for my tastes.  The rice crackers were meant to soak up the broth but I think I prefer toast points.

Another great dish that's always on the menu: Tuna tartare served on top of fried eggplant, drizzled with 
Kecap Manis (an Indonesian soy).

   First time for me to have this dish, but man was it good as well.  Tender braised pork cheeks served with dates on top of creamy polenta.  Another rich and flavorful dish.

Ok, we're getting into real foodie territory here.  This is the only restaurant that I know serves pig 
tails.  This is Traif's crispy pig tails.  While the pigs tails were more fatty than crispy, everything is tender and melts in your mouth.  I love peanuts as well, and this was dressed in a peanuty sauce topped with crushed
peanuts.  Delish!

This is a dish that is always on the menu.  Foie Gras served on top of roasted fingerling potatoes and fried egg, drizzled with hot sauce and maple syrup.  While the immediate reaction might elicit a WTF?! response, its another case of all the flavors coming really well together.  The flavors remind of a savory brunch dish and at $15 it's more expensive but OH-SO-GOOD!

Another dish that is also always on the menu.  Short rib sliders with sweet potato fries.  These
sliders are good, tender and tangy.  The fries have a Sriracha mayo dipping sauce.

Desserts next!  We hadn't even ordered desserts yet, but the chef/hostess were really great and decided to give us all four desserts on the menu for FREE for my brother's birthday!  I guess knowing the chef/owner really pays off. :-D

Traif's Key Lime Pie:  This was solid but not great; would recommend getting the other desserts.

Panna cotta topped with grapes and pomegranates.  The panna cotta just had the perfect texture.

Bacon Donuts with Ice Cream!  Still my favorite dessert!

Nutella mouse with chocolate wafers.  Also a really great dessert and my second fave aside from the 
bacon donuts.

To cleanse the palate...a free dessert bite of pineapple with molasses.

So that's it.  Another amazing meal at Traif.  We had a group of five and this was the most dishes I had there at one time.   This is already the front runner for the best meal so far in 2011, so I'll have to see what the rest of the year has in store for me (and my belly) lol.

229 S 4th St
(between Havemeyer St & Roebling St in South area of Williamsburg)
BrooklynNY 11211

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