At Dock Asian Eatery, you’ll find authentically delicious Asian dishes with flavors rooted in its chef’s backgrounds. Each head chef migrated from their respective country in the Eastern continent. We’ve learned a little bit about the masterminds behind the restaurant’s ever-expanding menu, but what happens behind the scenes?
In a day at Dock Asian, it takes hard work — and some shenanigans — to keep the restaurant running smoothly.
11:30 a.m. — Good morning, Dock Asian!
General Manager Yoshi Kakkino opens up the restaurant, and the kitchen and waiting crew begin streaming in to prepare for lunch service. The front of the house team cleans up leftover dishes and glasses, wipes down tables and takes out the recycling. With an inventory check of the restaurant’s liquors, its Asian-inspired cocktails — like the Blue Thai Mojito and Lemongrass Sparkletini — are ready for pouring.
Head Chefs Amornrat Aksaranan, Taka Kishikawa and Shogo Kishikawa begin the day’s prep with the kitchen staff. Chicken, pork and duck are cut and seasoned for Thai dishes while fish is sliced into clean strips of Sashimi for the Japanese menu. The staff also cleans pork bones for the restaurant’s tasty ramen broth which takes roughly 48 hours to make.
12:00 p.m. — Dock Asian’s doors officially open for the day
With two separate lunch and dinner services every day, each shift has about 11 staff members from the kitchen and front of the house working to keep the restaurant operating smoothly.
12:30 p.m. — A handful of customers begin to arrive
Since it opened last year, the restaurant has built a repertoire of ‘regulars’ and the team makes sure to anticipate these customer’s usual orders. They want it to be a place where guests feel right at home.
One of the restaurant’s most unique regulars is a male customer who comes in every Monday and is simply known by staff as ‘Sapporo Guy’ due to his go-to order of Spicy Miso Ramen and a few mid-day beers.
“We get a lot of local artists coming in,” Kakkino says. Due to its proximity to Théâtre XIV, the restaurant serves many performers that stop to pick up takeout after shows.
02:30 p.m. — Kitchen staff prepare lunch for the Dock Asian family
“Around this time, the team will start asking, ‘What are we having for lunch today?’” Kakkino says with a laugh.
Lunch duties rotate each day between the Japanese and Thai menu cooking staff. Today, the staff enjoys a hearty bowl of Thai noodles.
03:00 p.m. — The crowd of customers begins to slow
The end of the afternoon rush means everyone on the team gets a one-hour break (except Kakkino who keeps an eye on the service run), rotating between kitchen and wait staff. The restaurant’s most peculiar client, Jeff the sparrow, makes his anticipated arrival. The avian guest, who was named by an amused customer, is popular with staff and a familiar fixture among Dock Asian diners who sit on the spacious patio.
“At first [Jeff] would just be on the side, like peeping in and trying to get inside where nobody is sitting,” said staffer Chloe, who worked with Kakkino at a previous restaurant before joining the team at Dock Asian.
“Now, even if there are four customers sitting together outside, he’ll just fly onto the table.” Chloe and the rest of the staff make sure to clean up after Jeff’s visits, lest he leave a ‘surprise’ on the patio tables.
04:30 p.m. — Dinner time!
The staff starts cleaning up for dinner by wiping down tables on the restaurant’s first and second floors, along with the patio and bathrooms.
07:00 p.m. — Dinner and cocktail crowds start to roll in
While the restaurant boasts a slew of refreshing cocktails to go with popular dishes like Chiang Mai Noodles or Beef Steak, it appears the crowd’s favorite drink is still a classic Japanese Sapporo beer. One Saturday night, Kakkino recalls receiving 150 orders for the popular beer and just 20 cocktail orders.
11:15 p.m. — Closing time
While Dock Asian technically closes at 11:15 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (and 10:15 p.m. Sunday-Thursday), those seeking late-night eats continue to pour in well past closing time. Sometimes, the staff will wait on lingering customers past midnight.
“We never ask a customer to leave,” Kakkino explains. It turns out the restaurant will graciously suspend its curfew and ring up orders from customers near closing hours.
Desperate night owls, take note.
Dock Asian Eatery
22 Wyckoff Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237 (off the Jefferson St stop in the L train)
All images courtesy of José Alvarado.
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