Restaurants »Traif

229 S 4th St. Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Absolutely delicious! If Traif is to be my last nice meal out for some time, there wasn’t better company or food for the occasion. Located in a strange hidden corner of Brooklyn, off the BQE and Williamsburg Bridge, the months old small plates restaurant is a (somewhat) secret gem in the borough landscape of high end, interesting eating.

Two small plates per person was recommended by our waitress which works out perfectly as long as you come hungry.The website calls the cuisine “celebrating pork, shellfish, and globally inspired soul food” so, appropriately the seafood and meat dishes: spicy tuna tartare (a table favorite, though I couldn’t try it myself), chorizo and lamb meatballs, bacon wrapped dates, spicy sweet glazed calamari (my favorite dish if absolutely forced to choose), duck confit lettuce wraps, razor clams, seared scallops, and bacon donuts (yes, bacon donuts!) were truly outstanding. But don’t ignore a balance of veggie plates too – starting with a rich, creamy amuse buche of onion soup we also ordered a fresh brussel sprout salad and a citrusy beet and cheese dish.

Amazingly, all this was lovingly prepared in the smallest of open kitchens, just on the other side of the slightly cramped bar. I am always in awe of chefs that can work with so little space, and these guys were working wonders.

While I couldn’t partake, I did take a delirious sniff of Mike’s cocktail that included rye, chocolate bitters, ginger liqueur and a flame roasted lemon rind (could anything make me miss cocktails more?). A unique selection of beers and good priced wines are also available (as well as iced tea for those of us nine months pregnant and eliciting looks of horror at my big belly from neighboring eaters). From their incredibly positive yelp reviews, it’s fair to say that Traif has found the exact perfect balance between tastiness, price (about 40 a person with drinks and a very satisfying meal) and dim lit ambiance. It is certainly worth seeking out (even if the recommendation makes it impossibly crowded) and while you can, take advantage of what looked like a lovely lush backyard. One of the best meals we’ve had in a long time, so excited to have it near by for future special occasions.

Click here for the rest of Traif

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Posted on October 8, 2010

Restaurants »Rye

rye brooklynRye has the speakeasy trend down pat, right down to the omission of a sign to indicate the dark space as an unusually located dining destination. Chef and owner Cal Elliot comes off the success of Dumont, Dumont Burger and Dressler with this oaky restored restaurant.

The bar is well staffed and (as you'll read more about in this weeks drink category) they pour a mean old fashioned with, what else but rye. The menu offered many intriguing options. We shared oysters, house smoked sturgeon, and a meatloaf sandwich. All were very good, though the sturgeon felt a little light on the amount of fish and the sandwich (which I highly recommend as a shared dish with it's piles of crispy onion rings) was a bit too much on the sweet side.

The staff is extremely friendly and they are also open for a yummy sounding brunch which I would like to try soon.

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Posted on September 28, 2009

Web Sites »ephemera assemblyman

ghana ephemera assemblymanI found out about the wonderful world of Ghana movie posters from Ashleigh's recent Rotating Corpse post. She found out about them from Ephemera Assemblyman, a phenomenal visual blog with a focus on unique illustration.

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Posted on September 21, 2009

Restaurants »Al Di La

al di laThank goodness for summer Fridays. Al Di La, one of Brooklyn's most beloved and highly praised restaurants has always been on my list, but with reported epic (as in up to over two hours) waits for dinner, it never seemed like a culinary outing that was going to happen for me and my impatience. During a weekday lunchtime, however,?the antiquey, sunshiny corner spot is pretty quite and the food is still noteworthy.

I loved my mushrooms with polenta and a poached egg (pictured) and my companions' grilled cheese and short rib sandwiches were so tasty we all barreled through our dishes without thinking to offer each other a taste. We did split the irresistible fig and ricotta gelato though, a heavenly little sweet to cap off a great meal.

The beer list is short, but the choices (both from an obscure Italian brewery) were good and the wine list is long. Thankfully the kindly and cute waitress was able to help me pick a dry rose.

The atmosphere was beautiful for a lazy afternoon meal and catching up with an old friend. If the buzz of more popular dining hours leaves you spinning, stop by at an off hour to enjoy the excellent menu in peace.

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Posted on August 10, 2009

Restaurants »Prune

prune restaurantPrune is a highly acclaimed sliver of a restaurant that by seven o’clock will have you perched on top of your dining neighbors. On the plus side, this lets you take a close peek at what they’re eating (bone marrow to my left, burgers to my right) and for all the close quarters, an open front, which was taken full advantage of on Friday’s moment of seasonal sunshine, keeps the space airy and comfortable.

Prune, just like the small block it sits on above Houston is unassuming. The all female staff is friendly but slightly aloof and the food is very simply presented. We started with some cocktails served in nice big glasses (that I want for myself). I tried the Fresca, being on a bit of a grapefruit kick lately. It was a refreshing blend that also included vodka, mint and sugar. Jim went with the spiked lemonade that by the end of the glass was too spicy for him to finish (not wanting it to go to waste, of course, I drank the rest).

While sipping our refreshments, and nibbling on fried chick peas we began to pour over the menu. With so many alluring options there, we finally, after much deliberation, decided on the veal hearts to share. The meat strips were tender and tasty with a creamy salsa verde so good Jim and I were nearly fighting over the lettuce salad accompaniment (Jim doesn’t fight me for greens often).

For dinner, I opted for the sea bass special with some of the most scrumptious ingredients to my ears: cockles, sliced razor clam, chorizo and a saffron broth. It was delicious. Though Jim’s lamb was also tasty, the cut only offered a few bites of meat on the bone, which was disappointing.

We split a side of asparagus with spring greens. Chef Gabrielle Hamilton has a way with enticing flavors, each dish excelled in that aspect including dessert, a ricotta ice cream with salt caramel croutons, which for obvious reasons, we simply could not turn down. The two elements were just OK when eaten on their own, but the combination was dreamy.

I have heard praise (as well as some less impressed incounters) with their popular brunch, which most people wait in long queues for, and based on the dinner experience we had, I think I’d like to try it some day. After all who can say no to a huge, long list of bloody mary options?

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Restaurants »Schiller’s Liquor Bar

Schiller's 131 Rivington, Lower East Side A very pleasant atmosphere and even if it does get a bit crowded, it is a warm happy crowd in flattering lighting. Friendly service and great food at the right price. I recommend the moules frites and the hamburger.



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Posted on January 30, 2006