229 S 4th St
Brooklyn, NY 11211 (South Williamsburg)
I had been wanting to go to Traif for a long time. It’s consistently rated as one of the best places to eat in Williamsburg (4.5 stars on Yelp O.O and wow two billyburg restaurants in a row for me). Traif is a “new American” restaurant that serves up tapas with Asian and bacon flavors. It is also known for its bacon donuts – that curiosity alone was enough to entice me…
I started with the Rude Little Pig cocktail, which is made with lapsang-infused tequila orange liqueur, and a pomegranate bacon rim. Can’t say it’s particularly amazing but it was a pretty stiff drink. Bacon rim sounds better than it tasted. You couldn’t really taste it at all. It was actually pretty annoying to have to deal with bacon crummies in my drink. This start aside, everything else was pretty great.
We were gifted a sweet potato-y soup from the chef. Super delicious. So creamy and vibrant – the perfect little taster to get the taste buds going for the rest of the meal. By the way, I didn’t note all the prices and the menu changes pretty frequently. Just know that each dish is about $11-$20 ish.
Toasted spaetzle with roasted mushrooms. TBH, not the biggest fan of spaetzle because of how grainy it tastes. It’s the same reason why I can’t stand whole wheat pasta. Brown rice, whole wheat bread, anything else really I’m all for. Something about grainy noodles just doesn’t make sense to me. They should be al dente, not grainy. Anyway, of all the spaetzles of the land that I’ve had, this is pretty good, I guess. Cant go wrong with cheese and mushrooms.
Spicy bigeye tuna tartare, tempura Japanese eggplant, and kecap manis (an Indonesian soy sauce). Really liked the tempura-y eggplant as a base with the spicy tuna on top. Great textures. Flavors a little on the sweet side but definitely worth trying.
Spicy rock shrimp with pineapple and potato. Truthfully, tasted like a dish P.F. Changs or fancy Panda Express would have, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Fried shrimp + sweet and sour flavor. Some things do just go well together.
Cauliflower with cucumber and grapes. Tried it mostly because I had never heard of this combination before, then after trying it realized why I hadn’t heard of this combination before. It doesn’t really “go”.
Seared foie gras, yukon potatoes, bacon, sunny egg, maple, and hot sauce. Now THIS was delicious. Foie gras was perfectly seared so it was almost caramelized on the outside… melted like butter on the inside… egg helped emphasize richness while hot sauce helped cut the taste. All round excellence.
Strawberry-cinnamon glazed berkshire baby back ribs. This is a signature traif dish that seems to be ordered by every table. Like most of what we had that night, this dish was a little too sweet for my tastes, but I can totally see how most poeple would love this sticky, fruity rib. I would also have preferred if the ribs were fattier. But again, lots of people would probably prefer this leaner version.
Finally, the bacon glazed donuts that I came for! Like my cocktail, the bacon was not as existent as I thought they would be. They were trying to do what sea salt does to dark chocolate: bring out the sweetness in the dark chocolate. Fun fact, the reason our tongue does this is because it has these special sensors that move glucose (sugar) over to our sweetness receptors when sodium (salt) is present. Anyway, the bacon kind of had the same effect though I felt like the donut was way more gimmicky than tasty. It was a good, normal glazed donut with some bacon bits sprinkled on top. Why does every single blog/food review hail these as saintly donuts?