The story of Take Root is almost too good to be true . An unassuming spot in Carroll Gardens next to a yoga studio that opens only three nights a week hosting 12 diners only each night, a talented chef Elise Kornack and her wife Anna Hieronimus running the restaurant without any additional staffs, a word-of-mouth sensation that has culminated in one Michelin star award, etc. It is the kind of spot that makes New York dining scene so fascinating. For all the fine dining establishments in the city serving elegant haute cuisine meals, there are all these modest, mom-and-pop operations that nevertheless serve food that is jus as sophisticated. I haven’t had an occasion to visit this neighborhood gem in Brooklyn, so when my mom came to visit me from Korea recently, I took this as a great opportunity to show her around Brooklyn while exploring the culinary world of this restaurant.
There is only one tasting menu each night, available at $125 per person. There is something very warm and soulful about the cooking of chef Kornack, with a nice mix of creative touches using a variety of ingredients to create unique flavor and texture. Green beans with saffron custard were a nice start to the meal, as were tomatoes with clam, celery and coconut that had very refreshing quality to how the different elements worked together. Pork rillettes also had nice balance of flavor. It wasn’t until after the brioche with brown butter (by the way, the brioche was awesome and my mom disposed couldn’t stop nibbling on it) that I was starting to be really impressed with the depth of chef Kornack’s cooking. Kohlrabi with basil, olive, buckwheat and sesame was insanely good “salad” dish, with the crunchy texture of vegetables working in such a memorable way that I felt I could turn vegetarian if I had been served dishes like this every day. Beet with plum and lentil was just as good; I have had mixed experiences with beet dishes elsewhere, but the awesome texture of the beet along with the fruity sensation of plum was so ingenious.
I don’t even love sweetbread that much, but the perfectly cooked one here along with squash and new potato was another show stopper that I still can’t forget. The only disappointment was the last savory course; shrimp that came with cranberry bean and truffle didn’t feel as well cooked as it should’ve been. The desserts that followed, however, more than made up for that feeling. After refreshing rhubarb and carrot sorbet came an assortment of cherry and blueberry accompanied by day Lilly puree and macadamia nuts. It was a sensational dessert dish that really shows the character of this restaurant; a simple combination of ingredients that you see every day, but with some unexpected twists and beautiful execution to create a memorable dish.
Not surprisingly, with the limited availability and capacity as well as all the accolades it has been gaining from, getting a seat at Take Root can be quite a challenge. I highly recommend planning way in advance to secure a table online (the seating is available 30 days prior). The restaurant has some wine and beer selections; the wine selection tends to come from pretty exotic sources/regions and seems to have focus on natural wines. I absolutely adored the cozy atmosphere of dining space; you would have no idea that such a high level of cooking is coming out from here. I’m so glad I finally had a chance to visit Take Root, and would definitely come back again to see what chef Kornack has in store in the future. It is the type of restaurant that really makes me appreciate this culinary journey that I have been going through and exploring all these spots that offer so much satisfaction to my life.
- Creativity: 8.5/10
- Execution: 9.0/10
- Ingredients: 8.5/10
- Flavor: 9.0/10
- Texture: 8.5/10
Address: 187 Sackett Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Telephone: (347) 227-7116