When it opened in 2010, Traif was an unconventional fit for its adoptive neighborhood, the traditionally Hasidic southern stretch of Williamsburg. "Traif" means "unkosher" in Hebrew, and the restaurant boldly celebrates pork and shellfish. But If the immediate neighbors aren't coming, others are. Over the past five years, chef-owner Jason Marcus and wife Heather Heuser have beguiled the borough with a menu of eccentric small plates served from an open kitchen to a modest and dark dining room and an enclosed patio. The bill of fare changes frequently — one recent standout combined seared foie gras with yukon potatoes, bacon, a sunnyside-up egg, maple syrup, and hot sauce; it ate like a Franco-American breakfast on steroids. Bacon doughnuts are a perennial offering, and worth ordering. Drinks are as inventive as the vittles; cocktails incorporate international influences in innovative ways (the “Winter Cabin,” for instance, brought a twist on an old-fashioned, combining Buffalo Trace bourbon, Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters, a spice blend, orange, and ginger). By the end of 2012, Traif had become so ingrained in the neighborhood that Marcus and Heuser opened Xixa, a Mexican-inspired offshoot of Traif, on the same block.
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