Luksus @ Torst is incredible
Okay, first thing I'll say is I don't know how they are creating this menu for the price they charge ($75) and still making any profit. Had a couple beers at Torst to start and wait for restaurant to open, had to ask how we get in because it's completely seperated from the bar but a closed pocket door. It's a great little space, nice and bright, stark in a nice way, very Danish in it's sensability. Since it is a set menu all we really needed to do was decide on beer, we choose to go with the pairing because they know their food and beer combos better then I do. Started with some snacks of grilled carrots and beets,Sea urchin foam and seaweed crakers, and these incredible ham crackers with vinegar powder, it was crazy how it got my tastebuds going. These were followed by a roasted lettuce with mushroom, pea broth, and egg yolk, bust that egg up and magic happens, then came a raw razor clams with bone marrow, radish, and cucumber vinaigrette, followed by the best dish of the evening, a lamb breast with toungue salad (unbelieveably good, really), finished up with a rhubarb dessert.
Service was great even though there are only two waitstaff (the Chef and Sous occassionally ran courses to our table) and they were doing a great food of answering questions and explaining the dishes.
A very fun and completely satisfying experience.
Hope to get back soon
I had essentially the same menu (mussel foam instead of uni) but a different reaction to it. Nothing was -bad- about the meal, and there were a couple standout dishes. The lamb was AMAZING and I'd happily pay $35+ for a normal entree-size dish of that. The seaweed biscuits (almost like shortbread cookies) were excellent as well, creative and fun and delicious, though i found it difficult to scoop the foam and pickled veggies with them, nothing really stuck to them. Had it been served with a little demitasse spoon or something so one could pile the toppings on a bit better, it would have been perfect, but a brilliant little amuse bouche. Also, they offered to refill the biscuits when they saw we'd polished them off but there was still foam left. Point in the "pro" column for sure.
Those two dishes aside, though... again, did we have a bad dish? No. They were all very good. Was it terribly exciting, though? Mmm... I hate saying this but not so much. Oddly, we've had a couple very similar dishes recently to ones on their menu - a grilled lettuce app at Aquavit a month or so ago and a roasted beet app at Aamanns the week before - that I just found more interesting. I can't help but compare it to that meal at Aamanns the previous week (where, side note, they're now serving a regular dinner menu, not just smorrebrod all day, and it's totally worth checking out) which was under $100 for the food portion - 6 dishes which we split, and we left both meals equally satiated so probably the same amount of food total pound for pound. It was excellent, and certainly more Nordic in flavor profile.
That was a big surprise, too - very little of what we ate at Luksus came off as Nordic, more just solid New American fare. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, but it just wasn't what we were expecting. No dill, no caraway, no lingonberry, no skyr, no smoked or pickled or otherwise cured fish - that last one came as the biggest shock, noticeable for its absence. In a seven-course meal there was no room for herring or gravlax? In fact, other than the foam and the razors, there was no ocean fare at all, which is odd for a Scandi place.
Now, maybe I'm mistaken and the food isn't supposed to be particularly Nordic. Or maybe I'm just partial to Scandinavian places whose names begin with "A" - I dunno. (Add Aska & Acme to that list...)
As a tasting menu, too, it felt as though it was missing something. It was basically a flurry of amuses / mini-apps and then a half-entree. A fish dish to precede the lamb would have added SO MUCH to the meal. Even had they just incorporated a piece of, say, seared halibut or salmon into the lettuce dish, without changing the number of courses, it would have felt like a fuller, more rounded experience.
Again, nothing was bad, everything was good, in fact. I just, with the hype and the pedigree, expected something a little more exciting. The execution was all there, just the creativity felt a bit... muted. Or restrained. I wanted them to push the boundaries more. Now, I don't necessarily expect beet sorbet served in a hollandaise waffle cone or beet powder on hollandaise Lik-M-Stix, but perfectly nice roasted beets served simply with a perfectly nice hollandaise next to them was a little anti-climactic from a chef who'd done time at Noma and TFD. Much of the meal felt more Colicchio than Copenhagen, more Blue Hill than Blumenthal. And there's nothing wrong with Colicchio or Blue Hill, it just wasn't what we thought we were in for.
And though I suppose this has come off a bit critical, it's out of love. I'm for sure going back, and even looking forward to it. It feels like there's a potentially great restaurant in the wings, waiting to come out, but it's as if they're a little pensive about going all the way. Aren't Brooklyn diners supposed to be the adventurous ones? Go nuts, guys.
Beer pairings were very good, for sure, though a couple of them were a little on the sweeter side - but that's a personal taste thing. I like my beers dry, with very bright hops or sour like a lambic. One nice note - they topped us off a number of times, not something you see too often. (That also meant I was slightly drunk by the time we left, but I ain't complaining...)
But seriously, Luksus guys, if you're reading this: Gravlax. Herring. Bring it on.
Thanks for the reports Spiritchaser and bytepusher! My husband and I reserved our anniversary dinner at Luksus in 2 weeks and we can't wait (especially after all of the great reports we've been reading).
We also managed to grab the last 2 tickets to the Noma Reunited dinner during the North Festival in October. I'll do my best to report back on both!
Lucky you for the Noma Reunited, I had tixs but checked to see if the menu could be adjusted for my GF (a vegetarian) because Chef did such an awesome job adjusting for our Luksus dinner but due to the nature of the event it was not possible (but completely understandable). Oh well, guess we'll just have to go back to Luksus when the menu changes (which is all the time I hear).
Enjoy, Happy Anniversary, and report back.
We had our first Luksus dinner last night and we really enjoyed ourselves. Based on some previous reports I had read complaining about the small portions I'm guessing they may have responded to the criticism by increasing the portion sizes because we were very satisfied with the amount of food we were served. We found the service to be amazing and extremely friendly (as mentioned above there were just 2 waitstaff and occasionally the host, who is also a Torst bartender, refilled our beers) and the beer pairing was great. I didn't take any notes, but I'll post a few comments on the dishes we were served from memory (and the card they gave us with the basic info on each course)
Snacks: Beer = Mikkeller It's Alive with Rhubarb
- Fried cippolini onion and buttermilk dressing - nice start to the meal. My husband joked that they were inspired to make a fancy version of the Bloomin' Onion from Outback. The onions were perfectly fried and the dressing went perfectly.
- Chicken oyster with eggplant puree on cabbage - Definitely our favorite snack. They were presented like mini tacos with the cabbage leaf acting as a little tortilla with delicious eggplant puree and nicely grilled chicken oysters on top.
- Lobster and squash salad with hazelnut mayo and seaweed crackers - This dish was very creative and tasty, but unfortunately my least favorite of the snack courses. We both felt like the lobster got a little lost with the stronger flavors of the red peppers mixed into the salad and the hazelnut mayo (which was delicious in itself).
Bread - very good homemade sourdough with sea salt butter
- Beef tenderloin tartare with peppers, sungold tomatoes, pickled ramp flowers and black trumpet puree served with carmelized onion crisp sprinkled with togarashi - A very delicious bunch of flavors that were very good all mixed together or each eaten alone with the beef. - Beer = Hof Ten Dormaal Dark
- Sous vide little gem lettuce served with chantarelles, slow cooked egg yolk, and a chanterelle and ? sauce - Even though this is a main dish with lettuce as the main ingredient we both thought it was surprisingly substantial. It was perfectly seasoned and the runny yolk mixed with the sauce were a nice creamy coating for the slightly crispy lettuce. - Beer = Crooked Stave Surette (my favorite of the night)
- Pork neck served with millet with cranberry beans and shiso along with scrapple and pickled apple (?) slices - This was definitely our favorite main. The pork was perfectly cooked, the scrapple was very good, and the millet mixture was extremely flavorful. - Beer = Stillwater As Follows
Palate cleanser - Apricot ice cream with cherry cordial - Perfect palate cleanser, not too sweet.
Dessert - Sweet corn and wintergreen ice creams served with fresh blueberries and blueberry granita (?) - I thought the sweet corn was the perfect amount of sweetness (I'm not an overly sweet dessert lover) for the slightly tart blueberries. - Beer = Evil Twin Wine Barrel Aged Justin Blabaer
Mignardises - play on a Danish Schokokuss, which is sort of like a Danish cherry flavored mallomar (chocolate filled with cherry meringue) - very yummy end to the night
That's cool, aside from the lettuce course it really has completely changed from a few weeks ago. Still kind of surprised there's no seafood course (aside from a snack) on a tasting menu. Either way, probably be in for a return in a couple weeks, I'll give a little time for the lettuce course to cycle out.
No, I wasn't sure about how the lettuce was cooked. I know the egg was cooked in the sous vide circulator but since we weren't at the counter we didn't see how the lettuce was prepared and for some reason my husband and I both thought the waitress said sous vide when she described the lettuce. I'm definitely wrong on that one if you know how it's made.
We went a couple weeks ago and bad basically the same menu (ordered slightly differently and mussel emulsion instead of the sea urchin foam) and agree wholeheartedly.
Adventurous cooking, delicious food and no molecular stupid pet tricks (I'm not anti-modernist but it must be done very carefully)
We sat at the chefs rail, photos from our dinner here
Unfortunately no, keep meaning to get to Acme. Aquavit isn't quite "new" Nordic but some of the same flavors are similar but not a good head to head comparison. GF and I said even if it was the exact same menu again we would go back immediately. Looking forward to your opinion of it.