Twelve years after the Ace Hotel first landed in NYC, the hip boutique hotel chain is expanding to Brooklyn, and while there’s no celebrity chef and noted restaurateur behind the food and drinks this time around, an ambitious all-day bakery and restaurant is set to open on Friday, September 10.
As You Are, located in Boerum Hill at 252 Schermerhorn Street, is helmed by Ryan Jordan, an Ace Hotel vet who worked at the NYC’s Nomad property’s restaurants John Dory and the Breslin, where he was most recently the executive chef. He is joined by chef Danny Alvarez, a Union Square Hospitality Group alum who was named an Eater Young Gun in 2018 during his time running the pastry program at Daily Provisions. The duo has teamed up on a wide-ranging global menu pulling from a multitude of cuisines to offer morning pastries and dinner service for now.
From oversized English muffins for the short rib cheeseburger to pastas made with an extruder purchased from Italy, “everything I can make in house, I will,” says Jordan. Clever interpretations of classic dishes are a prevailing theme. An appetizer of chicken and duck liver mousse smeared on a bay leaf-scented madeleine and topped with onion compote is a reference to chicken liver and onions. Meanwhile, Alvarez’s pastry case will feature a black and white doughnut and a “BEC” (bean, egg, and chorizo) focaccia.
As You Are bills itself as “a celebration of Brooklyn culture and cuisine” — strong words in a borough ripe with neighborhood restaurants and longstanding classics. For Jordan, he says it’s an opportunity to explore the diverse mix of immigrant foods that can be found within the borough — a welcome task for the Jersey native chef, who has lived in Bushwick for 14 years. In one of his pasta dishes, he tops spiral-shaped pasta with octopus-mezcal ragu, borrowing elements from Mexican, Spanish, and Italian cuisines. He serves lamb ribs — which can be ordered by the half or whole rack — with a Sichuan-style chili crisp, garlicky yogurt, cucumber, and flatbread. “I want to honor and respect the people that built these neighborhoods and the cuisines that they brought while still finding fun ways to express that on the plate,” he says. “I don’t want to pinpoint any specific neighborhood or nationality, it’s more of an eclectic blending of those things.”
Alvarez’s approach to the concept has been to “take what I think are Brooklyn classics, and then do a little twist.” For his rum cake, Alvarez turned to his best friend, a lifelong Brooklynite, whose great-great grandma shared her dessert recipe. He also makes a pastel de nata (Portuguese egg custard tarts) entirely from scratch, starting with a puff pastry that’s then hand-rolled, molded, filled with custard, and baked off.
The bakery counter sits just to the right of the restaurant’s entrance and will open at 8 a.m. daily with coffee from Sey and Masha Tea. At night, it’s where Alvarez’s team will plate their desserts so that guests in the stained plywood-walled dining room can watch as they put final touches on slices of chocolate cake layered with milk chocolate mousse and scoops of toasted oat ice cream with brown butter pears and hot toffee sauce.
Other elements of the 130-seat space designed by Roman and Williams include mossy green banquettes, custom wood tables, and milk glass pendant lights. The most eye-catching feature is a large, colorful mosaic by the artist Isaiah Zagar with fun food details, like a clay inset of four roasted rabbits.
Both of the hotel’s bars — one in the restaurant and another in the open lobby — are overseen by beverage director Ben Durbin, who will pour cocktails, natural wines, and craft beers made in New York. A hand-carved wood wall sculpture by RW Guild artist Verdan Jakšić sets the tone for the lobby bar, where Jordan’s team will serve small bites in the coming weeks, like sliders with “martini mayo” infused with juniper berry and olive brine.
As You Are is open 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily for pastries and coffee; 5:30 to 10 p.m. for dinner Sunday to Wednesday; and until 11 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday. Breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch, and bar snacks will roll out shortly.