Aska at Kinfolk Studios
90 Wythe Avenue corner of North 11th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
$120 each for 2 people, without drinks, without tip
I never got the chance to check out the Kinfolk Studio space when it housed the pop-up Frej, but when my friend Josh started working at what is now Aska, I really had no excuse not to support him.
The last time I’ve been to a restaurant where the food on my plate looked more like some kind of art piece rather than a meal was at Alinea in Chicago (in 2006!), but even there, the dishes looked like I was going to get something out of them. At Aska, I was in doubt the whole time that I was ever going to be full, but there was something about the combination of ingredients and the timing of the presentations that somehow worked. By the time the last course of beef was served, I was pretty satisfied even though it was just a single kalbi-like slice of short rib.
There were 7 courses including dessert, but I counted at least 3 amuse-bouches and a pre-dessert palate cleanser. There were a couple of cocktails, a bottle of wine, and a digestif that helped, too.
1. Cocktails that take forever to make!
2. The most humble cabbage dish with a tiny piece of monkfish and its liver
3. Sunchoke presentation
1. Service – It’s a small space so they seemed to have too many staff members hanging out. At one point, we looked up from our conversation and there were 5 people at the pass. They all seemed to be stressed out and I felt very pressured to finish my plate to give them something to bus. But we did break a bottle of wine at the bar and they were nonplussed about it as they cleaned it up.