It’s pronounced “shik-za”. Before we go any further lets just clear that right up. So what is Xixa? Well, it’s another tongue in cheek restaurant brought to you by the same peeps as Traif, Jason Marcus and Heather Heuser. The term “Xixa” refers to a Gentile (non-Jewish) girl, much like Heuser, and the restaurant in Williamsburg likes to use non-Kosher means to prepare food, much like Traif (which also means non-Kosher). Confused? It’s all in good fun. The theme of the restaurant is like tapas/small plates with Mexican flair, and most of the dishes we had were delicious and executed perfectly, but there were some inconsistencies in the menu. Read on…
So first off, Xixa is a relatively small space, but it’s roomy enough that you don’t feel cramped for dinner. This is really the most important thing for me as of late in terms of ambiance. Candles? Great. Garden? Sure. Wrought iron tables crafted by monkeys in Costa Rica? Friggin wonderful. As long as I’m not getting elbowed by the person next to me or clutching my drink so their ass doesnt knock it over on their way out…that’s the win right there.
Here’s my problem (and attraction) with Xixa: the menu. So many to choose from! That’s the beauty of small plates though…when I hear a waitress say “we usually recommend 5-6 plates for every 2 people”, it’s like music to my ears. I’m all about the variety. So we started with a few things, these amazing carrots elote being one of them – honey butter, lime crema, coriander, dill, and feta. Whatttttt the FACK. I didn’t know you could do this to a carrot and make it taste this good. I was wishing for a lot more than just one each though. Again, damn you, small plates!
What do you do when you see spicy shrimp gorditas on the menu? You get them. And you eat them. These were a touch tricky to eat being that the crispy shell kind of falls apart when you bite it, but aside from the mess, it was a really well composed dish. I liked the salty bite from the nori-scallion garnish as well (a bit of asian influence creeps in here every now and then too so don’t be surprised by that).
However. Back in Mexico City, we have the corn flan tamale with blue crab. Mmm. Very, very good. I normally don’t like the consistency of flan, but this one was tolerable for me (ok a bit more than tolerable) and the blue crab was obviously a nice touch. There was also a garlic cream sauce on top, and I am never one to hate on anything garlic-cream.. The steak tacos at Xixa are tasty but mildly disappointing in size. There was a small ice-cream size scoop of steak tartare, 3 corn tacos, and some delicious piles of bone marrow. Collectively, everything tasted really great, but the portions seemed wonky to me – too much bone marrow, not enough steak…weird. Moving on.
Foie gras al pastor. I don’t really know what was going on in this dish, but I know I loved every bite of it. Two thick slabs of delicious, buttery foie gras sits atop roasted pineapple, torrejas, and ancho-honey. Sweet, spicy, and oh so good. However, note to self: maybe don’t have the bone marrow AND the foie gras in the same meal. Your stomach may or may not be pleased with you – it’s heavy stuff.
Fundido of taleggio and chihuahua cheese with smoked pork belly, beet pico de gallo, salsa, and truffled parmesan tortilla chips for dipping. A really eclectic twist on a classic fundido, and it works very well. The cheese was really hard to get ON the chips though – it was probably the stringiest cheese I have ever eaten. It was like the cheese version of a magic candle…you just couldn’t get it no matter how hard you tried…
I’d say at this point we were ready for some dessert; but unfortunately we also shared a bottle of wine and I don’t really remember what the dessert was. I want to say it was the Bunuelo Sundae…but I could be wrong. Don’t judge me. I remember it being ok, but I also remember complaining about the texture a little bit. Hmmm..will have to revisit…
241 S 4th St (at Havemeyer)