I am not really hip enough for Brooklyn – and certainly not cool enough for new Nordic-inspired restaurant Aska. But I loved my recent dinner there nonetheless. In the shadow of the majestic Williamsburg Bridge, this is Michelin-starred Swedish chef Fredrik Berselius’ second incarnation of Aska. The first was housed within Williamsburg studio and event space Kinfolk 90, but this new dedicated restaurant is even more impressive – and more creative from a culinary perspective.
The former warehouse space is a study in Scandinavian industrial chic. Hans Wegner chairs dot the upstairs dining room, exposed brick walls add a casual feel to the downstairs bar, and the garden patio is garnished with understated white lights. The precise presentation extends to the inventive dishes on the restaurant and bar menus featuring incredible flavour combinations such as dry-aged beef with gooseberries. Smoked hake and hand-foraged oysters also sometimes make appearances on the 10- to 19-course tasting menus ($145-$215 per person; wine pairings $115), which change daily according to the seasons.
It was truly an uncharted foodie experience; everything my friend and I sampled was extraordinary – and unlike anything else you’re likely to find in New York City. We feasted on pearl-like onions with caviar, grilled carrots with cheese, and fresh peas with razor clams and elderflower. My favourite dishes were the smoked hake wrapped in butter lettuce leaves and a squid tart that was worthy of a painting.
I liked the dramatic sequence of plates and presentations, but for those after a quicker fix the downstairs bar and garden both offer more “everyday” à la carte menus. Drinks wise Aska shines too, with a wonderfully curated selection of wines. In terms of craft cocktails, I’d thoroughly recommend bartender Selma Slabiak’s take on the martini – the Edda – which is made with a distilled Baltic amber and is utterly unique.