Take Root


187 Sackett Street


Seating Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m.


Photo by Dominic Perri

Brooklyn is the epicenter of the personal restaurant: The borough is full of chefs who've left rigid, hierarchical kitchens to follow their true passion, bending the rules of dining out while wearing their culinary hearts on their sleeves. You see more open kitchens in Brooklyn; more deliberately unfancy touches like drinks in mason jars; more wacky hybrid concepts. The most personal of all these restaurants may be Take Root, a twelve-seat Carroll Gardens establishment that serves a seasonally inspired New American prix fixe to one seating per night, three nights per week. Take Root is owned and operated by a couple: Elise Kornack does the cooking; Anna Hieronimus runs the front of the house (though Kornack delivers many dishes throughout the meal, describing them with such zealous intensity as to inspire awe). When they opened their space in January 2013, they were trying to preserve the feeling of home, and indeed the small front room can feel like your most put-together girlfriend's studio: warm and bright, with tasteful muted colors and a smooth soundtrack. Kornack gradually ratcheted up the intensity of her tasting menu, and she's now executing at a level unusual in any borough. Your meal might include Asian pear filled with chicken liver mousse; beetroot and kumquat salad; or butternut squash and mint floating in butternut squash tea. Each dish is stunning to look at and even more delightful to eat — Kornack has a novel take on flavor that makes strange bedfellows of seemingly disparate ingredients, with magical results. But the real magic of Take Root is this: The owners do more than serve you a meal, they bare their souls, inviting you into that vulnerable place where you can really start to get to know someone. Even the most cynical eater out there would be hard-pressed not to fall in love. (Reservations required, and you'll need to make one a month in advance.)