At first glance Luksus– an extension of the bar’s overly-lit, Nordic minimalist setting– inspired a lot of gaggy, knee-jerk, and not so glowing reactions. But like frowny Nordic people themselves and, say, Ikea furniture, the restaurant grew on critics and customers, who seemed to get used to the stiff, hardened outer layer. That is, until chef Daniel Burns peaced out and Luksus abruptly closed, Michelin star and all. But, as of this week, Tørst is back in the restaurant biz, and a new chef seems to have taken notice of the initial criticism.
When Tørst first introduced Luksus in the form of a tasting menu, New York reviewed it as a somewhat conflicting experience. The place had “all the maddening little tropes of the haute-Brooklyn dining experience,” and annoying “artisanal buzz phrases.” Then there was the cramped dining space, and of course the betchy, ultra-snobby foodie’s-foodie patrons. Even Daniel Burns was the sort of “intense bewhiskered gentleman” that you’d expect to be at the helm of a place like this, with its “spare Scandi-style tasting menu.” Despite the many red flags and the oh please-worthy Nordic theme, the place actually won the hearts of many restaurant critics and seemed to be doing quite well with customers. Appearances turned out to be deceiving, even for the same reviewer who ended up liking the food alright. On top of that, when Burns left the restaurant in December, he hinted that he might be moving toward “ice cream and gelato” instead, which hardly seems like anything an intense dude with some fancy mustache would want to be associated with. Grub Street even said it was “a shame” to see Luksus go. Luksus is still dead, but this week Tørst announced that they will once again be serving food, this time from an expanded menu and new additions to their “unique bread program,” both “influenced by the impressive and eclectic resumes of the culinary team.” The new chef, Jesus “Chuy” Cervantes, who worked at Cosme before he moved to Luksus, where he’s been for the last two years under Chef Burns, has taken over and while he continues in the tradition of “locally sourced, technically-driven food,” he’s added some color to the Nordic flavors that once dominated the selection of small plates. Now, the menu includes bigger dishes and snacks, and some more traditional I’m-getting-drunk-tonight bar food like a “fast food-style” burger with cheddar and chipotle mayo, and a black bean torta topped with Oaxaca cheese and avocado. There’s a new bread sheriff in town too, Max Blachman (formerly of pizzerias Roberta’s and Emily), who will continue baking the Danish Rugbrød, which has been available at Tørst “since day one.” But he’s added some intriguing baked goods like the “seaweed house roll,” a sourdough loaf, plus a flatbread-style Knaekbrød (because nobody will know it’s Danish without the “ø”). Among the more mysterious items is the gravity defying “oat porridge roll,” which I guess you will just have to wrap your mouth around to believe.
For now, Tørst is serving lunch (12 pm to 4 pm) and dinner (5 pm to 11 pm) Sunday through Friday, and all-day food on Saturday from 12 pm to 12 am, with plans for a late-night menu in the works right now, and brunch on the way sometime after.
See the full menu below.