Aska reopens and at $359 per person it’s still WAY too expensive


Hopefully the overrated food has improved:

Last week, Fredrik Berselius reopened his critically acclaimed Nordic-influenced restaurant Aska in a former warehouse on South 5th Street near the Williamsburg Bridge. [Read more…]

Budin opened today in Greenpoint Little Scandinavia


Budin – 114 Greenpoint Ave.

The Viking invasion continues. First there were the Scandinavian Torst and Luksus, followed by Dirck the Norseman, Konditori and Aska. (Ok, Aska is technically on the border of Greenpoint). Now, Budin is open, serving up its own blend of “high-end Scandinavian roasts“:

The $7 latte is here. The Nordic coffeehouse Budin opens this morning in Greenpoint, vending a variety of high-end Scandinavian roasts, including a licorice latte that retails for seven bucks.

“It’s the same thing as specialty beer or wine tasting,” said Budin co-owner Crystal Pei of his cafe’s high-end selection. “It’s a niche people are getting into.”

Not all of Budin’s brews are so expensive. Average joes can get a regular cup of joe for $2. But the fancy Scandinavian roasts from names renowned among the coffee cognoscenti — including Tim Wendelboe from Norway, Coppe from Sweden, and Drop Coffee, also from Sweden — are pricey. Pei says it is worth the money.

“Their roast is lighter and the flavor profile is different,” said Pei, of the northern European varieties.

More at

Best Slice, Best Breakfast, Best Burgers…. Williamsburg Gets Lots Of Love in New York Mag’s Best Of 2013 List

BrisketTown - Voted Best Breakfast by NY Mag

We feel spoiled. One quibble though… we don’t really consider an $115 tasting menu bar food. Still, we’re glad to see North Brooklyn get some love.

Best Miso Ramen:
Ramen Yebisu
126 N. 6th St., nr. Berry St., Williamsburg; no phone
Akira Hiratsuka ages his fresh Sapporo-style noodles for 48 hours to develop their slightly tangy flavor. He complements them with an elegant broth based on charred pork and lobster stock, sweet miso, toasted sesame, and an avalanche of chopped green onions ($12).

Best Patty Melt:
Parish Hall
109A N. 3rd St., nr. Berry St., Williamsburg; 718-782-2602
Pat LaFrieda has nothing on this magnificent burger blend: It’s lamb bacon mingled with beef, and it’s rich and drippy and delicious in ways we’ve yet to fully comprehend. The decision to serve it with grilled onion and good Welsh-style farmstead cheese on butter-griddled planks of rye from the neighborhood Polish bakery is a stroke of genius that could spark a patty-melt craze ($15 with salad or fries).

Best Grass-Fed Burger:
80 Wythe Ave., at N. 11th St., Williamsburg; 718-460-8004
Unlike many lean, gristly grass-fed burgers, this one is leavened with lots of juicy fat and topped, for good measure, with an optional wad of melty Gruyère for $16 including fries.

Best Double Cheeseburger:
Blue Collar
160 Havemeyer St., nr. S. 2nd St., Williamsburg; 347-725-3837
One theory behind the success of the double is that two thin patties are better than one: the top effectively basting the bottom with its meaty drippings, thereby creating an ideal ratio of juicy beef to squishy bun ($6.25).

Best Bar Food
90 Wythe Ave., nr. N. 11th St., Williamsburg; 718-388-2969
Depending on what’s on hand in his kitchen that day, the bar menu at Fredrik Berselius’s ascetic, Scandinavian-themed Williamsburg restaurant might include platters of plum-soft beef cheeks, fresh oysters “foraged” from the coves of Long Island, and fanciful Scandinavian-style hot dogs wrapped in tacolike rotis with relish and frizzled onions. If you have just one dish, however, make it the classic “potatis” potato dumplings ($6), which Berselius and his chefs stuff with a savory mash of cabbage and pork and serve, the way they do in the farm kitchens of Sweden, with smoky spoonfuls of farmer’s cheese and a sweet touch of lingonberry.

[Read more…]

Aska Tasting Menu A Whopping $115

Aska's upside-down broccoli w/ mussel seaweed (via Thrillist)

We tried this place when it was Frej and found it pretentious and dull. Is it better as Aska? At these prices, we’ll likely never know:

Scandinavian sensation Aska is stepping up its game with a new 10-course tasting menu from chef Fredrik Berselius that will be offered on Friday and Saturday nights for $115 per person. The $65 seven-course tasting menu will also be available. A member of the Aska team explains that this new menu will “expand upon the techniques, ingredients, and ideas currently present at Aska.” Beverage pairings will be offered for $65.

This is the third most expensive tasting menu currently offered in Brooklyn, right behind Blanca and Brooklyn Fare. This new development comes just a week after opening GM and beverage director Eamon Rockey left the restaurant, and three weeks after Aska scored a sweet two-star review from Pete Wells.

Less Hyped Restaurants On Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg’s Latest Buzz Strip

Aska - Drawing crowds on Wythe  (c/o NY Times)

Aska - Drawing crowds on Wythe (c/o NY Times)

If you broke through the New York Times website’s pay wall in July of last year and found a familiar sounding street featured prominently atop Fashion/Style, you may have felt nervous while reading “All Roads Lead to Wythe.” From Bowl Train to the Brewery, the Times had blown up the block. My summer haunt was a style trend, and “The Next Big Thing”. I mourned the loss for a few days, before joining the hordes of locals in “predictable ripped Acne denim and thrift-store T-shirts.”

Cut to almost eight months later, and the Times was definitely on to something. With the late January opening of Output, the warehouse-style dance club with a $30 cover charge and the newest tourist trap to hit the strip, Wythe has officially usurped the crown of the most popular Billyburg avenue from Bedford. But rather than wait in line at the much-hyped Reynard or Aska, I’m happy to continue my patronage of Wythe. Here are the spots to fuel up for a fun night out on the avenue. Whether that means finding a seat at the latest Kinfolk restaurant installation or grinding to Output’s endless stream of house music for hours on end, who are we to judge? Just get a good meal in first!

Café de la Esquina, newest occupant of the old Wythe Diner space, is retro on the outside, gothic-chic on the inside, and serving up a full jar of salsa with your order of chips, it’s the perfect place to stop in with a group.  The taqueria menu has affordable favorites like the pepito torta ($8) and tacos from pescado a las brasas to carnitas, all for less than $5. Visit on a weekday before 7 pm or all day Tuesday to take advantage of Happy Hour.

Café de la Esquina
225 Wythe Avenue

[Read more…]

Eating in the Burg


Welcome to February. There are only two acceptable reasons to ever leave the house in this most bitter of months: to eat, drink and then return home to sleep the pain away. Seamless, GrubHub and crew have made it almost too easy to receive sustenance, survive the winter, and never see another living soul again. But until a booze delivery service is developed or HBO is purchased, trips to the outside world are a must. Allow these five new players to hit the Brooklyn food scene to woo you out of your self-imposed hibernation, with promises of pizza, poutine, chicken and waffles and braised beef cheeks.

Was I the only local woefully unaware that Kinfolk Studios hosts a rotation of seasonal restaurants? Aska, a Scandinavian creation boasting dumplings, Scandinavian-style hot dog and an assortment of stomach-filling fare, is operating in the same locale you’ve spent a Saturday night sipping Japanese beer and feeling slightly discomfited by interpretive dancing. Indulge in the $65 tasting menu and enjoy earthy fare beginning with fried pike skin, followed by an assortment of root vegetables and locally-sourced seafood, until finally arriving at the restaurant’s crown jewel: the deboned pork trotter. Wash down the hearty meal with a cider or a quick injection of Aquavit, and you’ll forget you have to walk home all the way from Wythe Ave.

[Read more…]