Times critic Pete Wells is impressed by many of the dishes that Fredrik Berselius is serving at Aska in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge. He gave the previous iteration of the tasting menu restaurant two stars, but now, Wells finds that the chef’s cooking has evolved into something that’s even more unusual:
You will still be eating things you probably didn’t think you wanted to eat. A new pig’s blood creation has replaced the cracker, and this time it leaves a memory I’m happy to be haunted by. The blood lends a mineral tang to an appealingly tender traditional Swedish pancake set under rose petals, cherries and a sweet-sour rose hip jelly. It looks, and even tastes, a little like a thin chocolate cake. (Blood imitates chocolate again in a little truffle that shows up at the end of the night.)
Wells likes the bar downstairs too, although he finds that the dining room — with its black walls, big spaces between the tables, and couples sitting side by side in front of an open kitchen — isn’t always the most hospitable environment, and it sometimes feels like a sparsely populated cabaret. Wells writes; "By the third hour of the night, I was restless and conscious of the passage of time; I kept expecting the cooks to do something, maybe sing a little Sondheim." Still, because of the terrific cooking and original spirit of the restaurant, Wells decides to hand out three stars, which is one star less than Ryan Sutton awarded Aska earlier this fall.