A Tasting Menu and Wine Pairing Celebration at The Gander
Xixa is a Williamsburg Gem
Christine and I wanted to meet up for dinner before I head off to Ireland. She RAVED about a spot in Brooklyn and we decided this would be the perfect place for our dinner. Xixa (http://xixany.com/) is located in Williamsburg. The easiest way for me to get there from my apartment is to take the M train to Marcy Avenue. I didn't realize this subway went ABOVE ground - how exciting! When I got off the subway, I took a photo - you can see Peter Luger (the famous steakhouse) in the background!
Xixa has an awesome cocktail list that features many infused tequilas. I asked our awesome server, Allison, for the best way to enjoy the Thai Tea Tequila - she recommended having it on the rocks. Christine got the Apricot Tequila (90% sure...) with the Margarita Cubes - as they melt, they add complex flavors to the Tequila. AWESOME.
The interior of the restaurant is beautiful. I didn't snap a photo of our seating, but the table we sat in was super comfortable - it allows you to relax as you're served dish after dish! I did notice that some of the stool seating looks uncomfortable. I'm not sure I'd want to be in a wrought iron stool - my butt would hurt!
We requested the Chef's Tasting ($45 per person) - typically, you should have 3 or more people to do it, BUT our server was super awesome and let us do it just for 2! Get ready to be blown away by my description of our 13 (!!!) courses!
Our first course was pickled veggies, light, crunchy and served with a tasty sauce. This was a great way to prepare our palates for the richer dishes to come.
Our second course was a wonderfully spiced edamame.I loved it! I think it may have been grilled - it really changed my perception of the veggie from just having them steamed in Asian restaurants.
Our third course was a ceviche course - it was phenomenal! The seafood (shrimp and Hamachi) were super fresh and complimented by the fruits and sauces.
Our fourth course was duck lettuce wraps - I LOVED the duck but wasn't a huge fan of the banana on the side. This is my own issue as I'm not a fan of the flavor (unless it is in Banana Bread, I know. I'm weird).
The fifth course was tempura fried Blowfish - it had a bone in it, so we ate around it like a rib. If you haven't had this, you must try it if you see it on a menu. The fish is moist, meaty and flaky - so good.
Our sixth course was chicken wings - I totally forget the preparation. Can you blame me? At this point, it was all a delicious blur and had to keep track of (the menu updates a lot and I couldn't find all descriptions online). This was the least impressive dish. Still tasty, but not a knockout like the others.
At this point, we needed a new beverage. We both got the Bourbon'd Tequila with Old Fashion Cubes. This was so tasty! I will warn you though, if you take your time on the drink (like we did), the last sip is very very aggressive (all the spices in the cube have melted, so the drink is highly seasoned).
Course seven was a cheese fundido with parmesan chips and shisito peppers - what is there not to love about melted cheese?
Course eight was one of the most adventurous. When you order the Chef's Tasting, you can specific your dietary needs (if you are a vegetarian, etc.) and what you don't like (we were open to bone marrow but didn't want organ meat). The flexibility makes it great to have a different experience each time you go (which I plan to do again!) This course was bone marrow with steak tartare. I've never had bone marrow before and it was lovely! If anything, it is very rich and reminds me of butter. The presentation was beautiful. If you are a vegetarian, it would be horrifying. #meat
Course nine was the highly Yelped! about carrots - they were unlike any carrots I've ever had. It was the combination of the cheeses and lime that really stood out. Delicious!
Course ten was pork belly and pork cheeks. So delicious! The pork had great texture and taste. Absolutely lovely.
Course eleven took us out of savory and into sweet! The churros were awesome and the sorbet served with them was spicy! I enjoyed this one, but not as much as the other dessert.
Course twelve was a carrot tres leches cake with cumin (!!!) ice cream. This was incredible. I wish I could have another one right now. SO GOOD.
Course thirteen was a nibble of almond brittle (I believe). The perfection conclusion!
This restaurant is incredible. The value ($45 for 13 courses!) and quality of food (expensive ingredients!) is unmatched by any tasting menu I've done before - especially in New York City where prices can be very high! Also, the timing was perfect - all dishes arrived at an appropriate time and we didn't feel rushed. The temperature on the food was great - it was hot, so it wasn't sitting. This is an excellent restaurant, one of the best I've been to recently, if not in the last several years. You must come here - RUN don't walk.