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Welcome to Cardinal Directions - a catalog of my favorite food & travels to help you navigate New York & beyond.  



Playing with food at Traif

Playing with food at Traif

If any of you are on the hunt for a great date-night spot, Traif is one of my favorites. I recently revisited the spot as a belated anniversary treat, and I was not disappointed.  

What I love about Traif is how they experiment with food. They expertly combine flavor profiles, textures and an array of ingredients you might not normally imagine together. Their culinary concotions rarely miss the mark & serve as a poignant reminder of why eating and cooking should be fun. Everything on their menu is seasonal and ever-changing, so you can come back time again for a new epicurean adventure. 

Like all good Brooklyn spots, Traif values their mood lighting, but multi-colored murals, bar lighting & an open kitchen keep things lively. Head down and snag a bar seat if you want to be close to the action, or cozy up at a candelit table for something more intimate & friendly.   

Drinks: Traif has a great wine selection, but we opted for cocktails this time around. The creative whimsy they incorporate in their food extends to their cocktail menu as well. And while not exceptional, they were unique & fun to drink, with a couple of interesting stand-outs - namely the negroni and their mole-infused rendition of an old fashioned

Food: The meal generally starts with a small complimentary appetizer. That evening, it was a spiced chickpea soup which I wish came in a larger cup (or with a recipe). But my favorite dish all evening was the spicy tuna tartare. It's served atop a tempura-fried eggplant which brings just the right amount of sweetness to the dish. It is the perfect meld of sweet & spicy, creamy & crumbly.     

A close second was the truffle gnocci. If you like truffle, you're guaranteed to like this dish. Creamy white truffle sauce is the perfect, sumptuous complement to the pillow-shaped gnoccis. I'm personally a huge fan of both truffle & gnocci so this was a massive win in my book.    

We also tried the seared foie gras dish...because it was foie gras, and it was on the menu. I loved the concept of combining something as luxurious as foie gras with the elements of an otherwise, ordinary breakfast. It was an absurdly decadent, but winning combination.

The steak came highly recommended by our waitier, and also didn't disappoint. My only request is that they include more blue cheese & honey butter sauce on the side. 

The only dish I was underwhelmed by was the sweetbread. There was nothing wrong with the dish per se, it was just more general tso chicken than sweetbread, and the flavors didn't particularly stand-out from something I could've scooped up for much cheaper in Chinatown.  

While the plating might occasionally leave something to be desired (really wish the tartare was more photogenic), the food is undeniably appetizing. And for the quality of the food, the space is cozy and unpretentious. I highly recommend you prioritize it on your list of places to try.   

(Website | Sample menu | Reservations)

The Getaway: Austin

The Getaway: Austin

Duck, duck...goat?

Duck, duck...goat?