TRAIF - Terrific unique Saturday Night in Williamsburg
Braving winter storm Nemo, we snuggled into a warm and toasty Traif, watching the snow cascade out the back glassed in porch. Four of us shared a tasting menu starting with a wonderful and peppery (with a touch of cinnamon!) lentil amuse bout soup onto perfectly grilled sea scallops to lamb tenderloin to sliders to pork cheeks to duck finishing with donuts (with a touch of bacon) and coffee ice cream. All washed down with wonderful peppery Austrian red wine. Just the thing to keep the winds of winter at bay. Service was pleasant and professional and all and all made for a fabulous dining experience for a couple of jaded Manhattanites being introduced to the glories of Williamsburg eateries. Great fun and terrific food.
was going to write my own review but saw this threat from a mere week ago and thought i would piggyback.
It almost seems redundant to give Traif a great review, since the internet appears to be pretty full of them. That said, it was too fantastic of a surprise to let fade away without some online recognition.
We toyed with a few ideas for dinner in the area... Sweetwater, Rabbit Hole, Lokal? We were on our way to Rabbit Hole when we had a sudden change of heart and thank goodness we did. At 6:15 we showed up at Traif without a reservation, the host glanced around to see if he could accomodate... though there were many open tables at 6:15, they quickly filled up after we sat.
The menu at Traif is full of things we were excited to try. The waitress explained the order of the menu from lighter to heavier dishes, though they are all fairly small and meant for sharing. We went for 6 dishes, though I am sure we would have been satisfied with 4 or 5, there were just too many enticing pairings to pass up.
While perusing the menu, we were brought an amuse bouche of small shot glasses of bacon broth. Yes, bacon broth. It tastes exactly what it is, but is better than I would have ever imagined - salty, smoky warmth.
First: the tricolore salad with fennel, pomegranate seeds, blood orange, and more... perfectly dressed, sweet, sour and crunchy - off to the right start.
Second: the blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. Every bit as delicious as it sounds, with near-charred bacon and blue cheese strong enough to give interest and subtle enough not to distract.
Third: Joe's chopped chicken livers - in a little pot - smooth creamy moussey liver scented with rosemary, with crunchy balsamic toast to spread it upon. Decadent, as chicken liver mousse must be, but the hints of rosemary made it a bit unusual.
Fourth: Burrata with avocado creme mousse. Burrata was exquisite. Avocado mousse refreshing and lovely.... not sure I would pair them together again, but still managed to clean the plate.
Fifth: Pork cheeks with Israeli couscous, pomegranate, apple and other fantastic compliments. Meat was tender and impeccably cooked and the bed of accompaniments did not fade into the background.
Sixth: Dayboat scallops over a cauliflower puree with hazelnuts and blood orange. Again, cooked to perfection, complimented perfectly.
This praise getting annoying yet?
Although completely stuffed and happy, we took just a peek at the dessert menu and couldn't help ourselves. I am a nutella girl and fiance is a bacon man... so we had to order, not one, but two desserts to share.
Dessert One: Nutella mousse with banana ice cream and pistachio crumble on top.
Dessert Two: Bacon topped dulce de leche doughnuts with a scoop of coffee ice cream on the side.
The service was delightful. Fiance commented that our waitress seemed stoned, but she was charming and attentive. Our food came quickly, with very little lag time (if any) between courses and we were checked on as to the goodness of our meal numerous times.
The restaurant isn't much to look at, but the high level of every single bite of food we tasted makes up for the minimal ambiance tenfold. We will definitely be back, and will be talking about the fantastic meal we had at Traif until then.