Tucked away on a mostly residential block in Carroll Gardens, far from the crowds of Smith and Court Streets, Take Root is a restaurant, a yoga studio, and a neighborhood haven all wrapped up in one. By day, Anna Hieronimus teaches yoga in the back of the space (mainly to children, using techniques learned at the acclaimed Kripalu School of Yoga in Lenox, Massachusetts) and in the evenings from Thursday through Saturday, chef Elise Kornack (formerly of Aquavit and The Spotted Pig) prepares a seasonal five-course tasting menu inspired by everything from what is freshest at the farmer's market to a memory of a beloved childhood dish. What both the practices share, of course, is that they provide nourishment for the body, mind, and—when done right—the spirit. Or, in the words of Elise and Anna, "both yoga and food not only influences our physical well being, but also our emotions and thoughts."
The philosophy of feeding both body and spirit is all well and good, but in a borough that has it's fair share of superlative restaurants (really, we here at Brooklyn Magazine have bestowed many of those superlative distinctions) Take Root manages to stand out for being far more than just as a unique hybrid space. The space itself is minimally decorated with calming colors and light woods, nothing over-the-top that would distract from the food. Music plays from an iPod (there was a lot of Stevie Nicks the night I was there, which was more than fine with me) and the sounds of the sidewalk drift in, giving diners the feeling that they are in someone's home rather than just another restaurant. This intimate setting, aided by the fact that Anna and Elise do everything themselves with no outside help, accomplishes what many restaurants aim for, but few achieve—an immediately disarming quality that offers customers the chance to fully relax while enjoying a truly special meal.
And so, the food. The menu changes dependent on what's seasonally available, and while that can be disappointing when you happen upon a dish that you really love, each course of the tasting menu was delicious enough that I really can't imagine not wanting to try anything Elise whipped up. Although dinner at Take Root is supposed to be five-courses, two additional courses are served, and throughout the meal, Anna offers excellent suggestions on wine or beer pairings. The highlights from the night I was there include the house-baked bread and radishes, the summer squash salad with trout roe, and the black garlic agnolotti with sweet peas and asparagus that was drowned in a parmesan broth, which was poured over the pasta table side, thus emitting an intoxicating fragrance which actually made my mouth water. The intimate setting (the dining room seats less than a dozen people at a time) allows Elise to leave the kitchen and explain a little bit about each course to the diners before leaving them to dig in. This kind of easy familiarity and fluidity between front-of-house and kitchen only adds to the sense that eating at Take Root is a much fuller experience than is available at most dining spots. It might be the kind of thing you have to experience to believe—a restaurant and yoga studio that is so much more than just the sum of its parts.