Squeeze yourself into Box Kite, the sliver of a coffee shop on St. Mark's Place, and you'll see it barely has enough room for the gleaming Synesso Hydra espresso machine or the record player on the miniscule counter, let alone the guys who take over the dollhouse kitchen and turn the place into a chef's counter each night.
Dave Gulino and Justin Slojkowski work side by side on their tasting menu of 11 to 13 wonderful, sometimes strange dishes ($75) that you can enjoy at the bar while the woman next to you quietly nurses a glass of wine for two hours and taps away at her laptop, answering a backlog of emails.
Here's what you can look forward to: Popped corn on the cob with powdered butter that's been flavored with rosemary and chile. Cured mackerel on very crisp puffs of lichen (delivering more flavor and texture than seems possible). And a very rare piece of Arctic char, covered in tender disks of butternut squash and sweet potato and mounds of sparkling orange roe, that promises winter is really, truly, almost over.
The weirdo mash-up of shisito peppers, pears and hearts of palm didn't quite work, and there was a meaty broth, poured over scallops, that was far too salty, but Box Kite's inconsistencies are easy to shake off.
When the record player is on and Sharon Jones is giving you what you want, and the barista is dancing, you can tell that in these 300-square feet of the city, a few people are doing exactly what they love.