Cuisine: Mexican Tapas Fusion
Location: 241 S 4th St, Brooklyn, NY
Xixa (pronounced Shik-sa, yes like the Yiddish word for non-Jewish woman) is the newest restaurant from the owners of Traif (yiddish for non-kosher) located next door. Both are amazing and Xixa continues the tradition of interesting combinations in the form of small plates. You can tell it’s a young restaurant due to the service. Our waitress was an absolute sweet heart, very knowledgeable, helpful, and stylish. The actual problem was the pacing of the 11 course tasting menu. The food was coming out so incredibly fast, sometimes we wouldn’t even be finished with one dish when the next would come out. We asked them to slow down, which they did, but it was the fastest tasting menu I’ve ever had. This is just something the staff will work out in time. The actual quality of the food is awesome and interesting.
Snap Pea Tacos: They started out with tiny little snap peas slit on the side and stuffed like tacos. These were adorable and I loved the flavor combination. Though it was a super small appetizer, it was one of my favorites taste wise.
Chips and Artichoke Guacamole: This was another of my favorites. I don’t like Avocado (shocking I know, pick your jaw up off the ground and read on) therefore I generally am not big into guacamole. I’ve had it in the best of places: trendy restaurants in LA, watching them make it in front of me in Mexico, random diners in Costa Rica, I just don’t like it. But this I was into. The chips were dusted in some sort of spicy seasoning which I loved and the artichoke guacamole tasted delicious.
Butterfish Tartare: Apparently the reviewer for the New York Times really loves this, so forgive my unrefined tastes but this wasn’t my favorite. It was no doubt made well, but the flavors didn’t do it for me.
Chopped Liver Sopa: This was good. If you like chopped lived (or even if you think you don’t but you like meat) these are worth a go. Definitely surprised me with big flavor.
Duck Lettuce Wraps: YES. This is bomb. This I wanted to eat more of for sure. The Duck is marinated in a dark spicy sauce which tastes amazing, wrapped in a big leaf with banana puree and the likes. MMm.
Fish Tacos: This was a big slab of fish, which was cooked perfectly, that you piled onto a little tortilla with paprika sauce, pickled onions and the likes. It was good.
Carrots Elote: Another YES! You have to eat these. I always rave about the Mexican style corn at Cafe Habana, and these are those in carrot form. They are perfect. I wish I could have a machine that administers them as a snack while I watch “The Mindy Project.”
Bone Marrow: This was rich. The presentation is impressive with a big bone you scoop the seasoned marrow out of and spoon it onto a blackened tortilla with steak tartare, and peppered jam. Make sure you get a good amount of the jam on there as the bone marrow is rich. So rich. I liked this yet at the same time was so full I almost couldn’t finish mine.
Lamb Meatballs: This was the only dish that confused me a bit. Don’t get me wrong. These meatballs were good. They were cooked to perfection. But there was nothing interesting about them and I lost the Mexican edge with this dish. They were lying on a bed of thin noodles, which seemed super random. I know I sound like a giant snob, but despite being delicious to the taste, it lacked direction in the greater theme of the tasting menu. I suppose these are a good option for the less adventurous eater. Maybe if you take your little sister there and she thinks all the other stuff is weird.
Frica-dilla: This is Asiago frico, chorizo, potato purée, a sunnyside up egg over it and oven baked. They turn it upside down so the cheese is on top. THIS IS AMAZING. Sasha, Alison and I (my dining partners) were all wildly impressed with this and wanted to eat the whole thing, if only we weren’t so full already. It is such a simple combination of ingredients but literally set fireworks off in my mouth.
Dessert: a graham cracker concoction of ice cream, black sesame mousse, and other things. It doesn’t sound substantial but it tastes amazing. I liked this better than a similar dessert at Gwynette St.
Churros: These are good churros. Especially with the interesting rhubarb sauce.
Overall, the tasting menu is 100% the way to go. With this many amazing courses for $40, Xixa is a steal by NYC standards and pretty much anywhere else. I also recommend the tasting menu because I straight up trust these people at this point. Having tried numerous dishes at both Traif and Xixa, I haven’t had a regrettable one to date. I believe you can request two items to be included in your tasting menu. I say go with the Carrots Elote and the Frica-dilla, then just pray that they give you the Duck lettuce wraps too :) If you do the tasting menu remember, you are not guaranteed each dish I critiqued above. The menu is always changing!