Take Root: Sewing the Seeds of Modern Fine Dining
Brooklyn, New York

Take Root: Sewing the Seeds of Modern Fine Dining

An excerpt from Issue Two of Life & Thyme

Issue TwoEditor’s note: This story was originally published in Issue Two of Life & Thyme. To read the full feature in its entirety, purchase Issue Two from our online shop or from one of our stockists.

From a leafy residential street in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens, Elise Kornack and Anna Hieronimus are quietly at work reshaping the rules of modern dining. The couple, who married at The Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg in 2013, opened Take Root two years ago after hosting a string of successful supper clubs from their apartment. The pair work side-by-side with no outside help, which perhaps explains the warm intimacy that suffuses the room day and night. It is their space, their second home, and the fruit of their shared motivation.

“We wanted to open a place where we would want to dine. We’ve created our dream dining experience,” Elise explains. “Which is ironic, because we never actually get to eat here!”

The peppermint-washed restaurant, which once acted as Hieronimus’ yoga studio, seats just twelve and serves a tasting menu at eight p.m., three nights a week. With its heavy wooden bar and miniature garden of cactus plants soaking up the sun from the bay window, the small space sets the stage for visitors who sit down not only to enjoy fine food, but to share a moment in time with strangers. The experience is an odd, delicate one. Stripped of crowds and layers of sound, guests at Take Root are entirely aware of each other’s presence, tasting exactly the same food at exactly the same time.

Anna and Elise have tapped into a pocket of fine dining that is still unheard of in New York. Cities like Paris or Tokyo have a wealth of tiny, one-menu eateries, yet New York still remains a breeding ground for vast, sparkling dining rooms with menus that read like glossy magazines, brimming with choice. With Take Root, they extend an invitation for food-lovers to nestle down in what feels like a friend’s living room, embroiled in something luxurious, unique, and transient.

Elise, who previously worked in the kitchen of Aquavit, comes alive within her small kitchen. She is entirely alone inside it, at work with her own ideas, and that is exactly as she likes it.

“I always wanted to be able to execute a vision by myself,” Elise tells us as she darts from pan to steaming pan. “My work is solitary now, and I like it that way. It’s like being an artist; I’m in my studio doing my own stuff, then when people come here to eat it’s like an exhibition.”

Elise draws up the tasting menus with a focus on the seasons as they pass over each other. Light springtime flavors overlap summer ones, which overlap heavier autumnal ingredients.

It is possibly the greatest feat of cookery; to create a dish that makes a diner want to inhale every molecule, whilst simultaneously longing for it to never end. Visiting Take Root on a white-skied Thursday afternoon, we were able to fully understand the consistent praise that has trailed behind the place like a dust cloud ever since it opened.

Want to read the full story? Find it in Issue Two of Life & Thyme, available to purchase  from our online shop or from one of our stockists.

Comments are for members only.

Our comments section is for members only.
Join today to gain exclusive access.

This story is on the house.

Life & Thyme is a different kind of food publication: we're reader-first and member-funded. That means we can focus on quality food journalism that matters instead of content that serves better ads. By becoming a member, you'll gain full uninterrupted access to our food journalism and be a part of a growing community that celebrates thought-provoking food stories.

The Editor's Note

Sign up for The Editor's Note to receive the latest updates from Life & Thyme and exclusive letters from our editors. Delivered every weekend.