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“Trix, by Dara Pollak”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American Brooklyn Cheap Eats Good

Mixology meets bistro bar fare at Trix, a deceiving spot on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, where the walls are covered with erotic art, the windows are painted with the words “Go-Go Girls”, and the catchy cocktail names suggest a good time...or a happy ending. Still not really sure. Either way, I saddled up to the bar and ordered a drink.

General manager Craig Hutson made me their signature “Billionaire” cocktail made with bourbon, house-made absinthe bitters, and grenadine. One word: dangerous and deliciously smooth. No hallucinations here, just a good old buzz served straight up in a frosted glass.

I’ll admit when I first walked by this place I thought it looked tacky, but the backstory on Trix is that it used to be a lounge called Belinda’s a few decades ago, where topless dancers strutted their stuff every night til 4 am, and the décor pays homage to that theme. Local artist James Johnson built the interior with his bare hands, from the wrought iron and metal bar structure, to the hand-studded grommets and the hardwood floors. Now that we know the backstory, we can say that it has “charm”.

Not wanting to be overshadowed by abstract art and soldering, Chef Ian Pasquer really raises the bar on bar food. Formerly of Tribeca Grill, Le Paradou and L’Orange Bleue in Manhattan, Chef Pasquer takes his skills across the Williamsburg Bridge and leaves us with a satisfying and inspired array of dishes.  

This is hardly the place I would expect to enjoy a bowl of mussels in almond-escargot butter, but I sure as hell did. These plump “Icy Blue” mussels take a little bath in butter, minced garlic, herbs, and almonds, and are served with char-grilled pieces of crusty bread for dipping. Crisp green beans get a slightly heavier treatment with beer-batter and frying, and they’ll arrive with pieces of batter clinging to the beans for dear life. A squirt of lemon on top keeps this dish light, crisp and salty - the perfect bar snack.    

Perhaps the biggest surprise here is the freshness of the ingredients and the sophistication of the menu; it’s quite the paradox really since you feel like you’re sitting in a strip club. Chilled beetroot soup with rosemary oil is a slightly sweet, colorful summer dish, and the gravlax with honeydew melon, arugula and saffron vinaigrette keeps that refreshing, summery vibe going. ... [more, click below]

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