Richard Kashida has been involved in plenty of good local NYC restaurants. He helped launch the first Jin Ramen, when it was still something of a secret below the elevated train in Harlem, as well as the solid neighborhood bistro Flat Top in Morningside Heights. He also worked at the Japanese barbecue party spot Gyu Kaku when it was new in Cooper Square, and, going back a dozen years or more, at the ahead-of-its-time Neo Sushi on the Upper West Side.
Kashida still has an ownership stake at both Jin and Flat Top, and also runs two popular Smorgasburg outfits, Rooster Boy fried chicken in the summer, and Pho Cup in the winter. So it makes sense that for his first-ever solo project, Dashi Brooklyn, Kashida is selling, among other crowd-pleasers, fried chicken nuggets and bowls of pho. Less predictable is the all-day restaurant's location, set back from the sidewalk on a stretch of Ingraham Street in East Williamsburg that doesn't get much foot traffic.
If you're anywhere near this neck of the woods, however, you should make a point of eating here. Dashi Brookyn is a terrific little place, with a menu packed with well-executed comfort foods. The Kara-Age Fried Chicken Nuggets are tender, heavily seasoned (you definitely won't need to use that salt shaker at your table), and granted an additional flavor boost by an assortment of dipping sauces. I ordered the House Spicy Chili and the Ranch, and recommend you do the same.
The Dashi Classic Burger is excellent, a beast of a sandwich starring a juicy eight-ounce beef patty (80% sirloin, 20% chuck), piles of fresh toppings, and a spicy aioli delivering a nice kick. It's a delicious mess. The accompanying fries are first-rate as well. Other options in this category include a vegan Impossible Burger, a thigh-meat Fried Chicken Sandwich, and an Avocado BLT.
A half dozen Donburi Rice dishes add further interest to the menu. I wolfed down the nicely spicy and vegan Dashi Curry plate, and the Grilled Salmon dish featured a lovely piece of fish sitting beside a mound chewy rice, with pickles, shredded daikon, and ponzu sauce punching things up even more. If you're in the mood for some Pho, stocked either short rib, lemongrass chicken, or roasted mushrooms, I can say from past experience that it'll likely hit the spot.
The space is pretty small, has seating for about thirty, mostly at backless stools but with several tables as well. An industrial skylight brings some light and visual interest to the room and, when it gets warm, the outdoor area might make for a pleasant option. Service is welcoming and efficient (though, granted, I was the only customer in the place), and the lively music keeps things energized. Dashi Brooklyn is a great find, so hopefully people do, in fact, find it.
Coffee and pastries are sold counter-service style up front, and sorry, but there's no alcohol served here.
Dashi Brooklyn is located at 119 Ingraham Street, just off Porter Avenue, and is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (929-276-3310; dashinyc.com)