Non-Jewish Girlfriends Happily Dine at Xixa

Last week Jason Marcus and Heather Heuser’s second restaurant Xixa opened up in Williamsburg, just a few doors down from their also ironically named joint Traif, which mean “non-kosher.” The paradox of Traif comes from the restaurants proximity to the large Hasidic area of Brooklyn, and while there they make sure to fill its menu with pork-tastic nibbles, at Xixa, which is a play on the word “shiksa,” meaning “non-Jewish girlfriend” in Yiddish, they turn out eclectic Mexican-style fare.

Spicy rock shrimp gorditas or Spanish mackerel tartare anyone? That’s just a few of dozens of small plates chef Marcus serves, all regulated to various “food groups” like cheese, grains, and meat. The menu also organizes dishes based on light to heavy, and in that order. Aside from truly tasty takes on classic Latino food, they also have a full bar that specializes in wine, tequila, and mezcal, including a smoky shot laced with duck fat and chased with duck chicharrones. Where the actual cocktail and booze list isn’t extensive, they make up for that with their 100-plus bottles of wine, all wickedly categorized by the iconic woman that best describes them. Want a “fresh, transparent, and bright” vino? Go for the Twiggy column. For a “perfumed, aromatic, and avant-garde” variety, they offer seven choices under Coco Chanel, including a Pansa Blanca from Spain.

This kind of whimsy gives Xixa a jump ahead of other new restaurants in the area; and their solid food and comfortable setting doesn’t hurt either. Plus, the space has an elegance to it that calls for a date, but with a rope-covered ceiling and abstract paintings, it could easily remain a casual spot. Either way, bring your Jewish or non-Jewish girlfriend, or better yet, your boyfriend, the kitchen stays open until 1am.

New York’s Best Restaurants For Big Groups

Besides being asked “when are you cleaning your bathroom” by my mom and “do you have boyfriend” by my local bodega owner, the third most popular question I’m asked every week is this: “ I’m having a party; where can I bring a big group?” And since everyone loves to eat, drink, and be merry with a core group of best friends and peripheral acquaintances – and since it’s easier for me to send a link and not discuss this anymore – I’ve gathered a list of New York’s Best Restaurants For Big Groups. This is a special list, teeming with everything from strawberry-cinnamon baby back ribs in Williamsburg, a Cuban fantasyland in the East Village, stone fireplaces in the West Village, and a really cool picture of dogs. Enjoy.