I spent last week in New York, dividing my time between a mix of pre-Christmas shopping, a few meetings and plenty of good eating. This time was different as I kicked off a busy dining schedule not with a trip to the much-missed Alias on Clinton Street but with my first visit to Luksus in Brooklyn.
For those unfamiliar with the white-hot and fickle world of restaurant trends, Luksus (Danish for “luxury”) is part of the haute-Brooklyn food scene, with intrepid restaurateurs, chefs and growers heading into increasingly experimental territory.
Perched at the back of Torst, the craft-beer bar with a wildly eclectic selection of sours, porters, pilsners and IPAs served in elegantly patterned house glasses, Luksus offers a heavily Scandinavian take on fresh, seasonal food that celebrates the ingredients, veering between simplicity and imagination.
Upon ordering you are given only one option: to pair your five-course taster menu with a selection of paired beers or not. Aside from that you’re in the hands of head chef Daniel Burns, who has come through the ranks of Momofuku and René Redzepi’s Noma in Copenhagen. Like these famed restaurants, the offering is intensely considered and pared down; unlike them, Luksus has a casual manner, helped along by the friendly young staff and groovy playlist on the stereo. The latter, if not paired as immaculately as the beer, certainly complemented the meal and set the tone nicely.
The mackerel with tarragon and wilted cabbage was a quiet revelation. Fresh blue mussels were served with bone marrow and giant watercress, and the crowning achievement was surely the pheasant served with tiny salted plum and finely smoked celeriac.
Highlights of the beer menu: Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja, an unpasteurised amber ale in the Flanders tradition; the complex and peppery Blaugies’ Saison d’Epeature; and, my personal highlight, Evil Twin’s Nomader Weisse – Evil Twin being the Brooklyn-based company headed up by kindred spirit Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø supplying exclusive brews to Luksus.
The reputation of the restaurant has spread far from Brooklyn and the addition of a recent Michelin star after only a year in business speaks volumes about the quality of the offer; quite an achievement for a restaurant with not a wine list in sight.
The recent star may make it slightly trickier to get a table – or even a coveted seat at the bar where you can watch the kitchen team work their magic – but I’d suggest putting it on your list for an alternative to the traditional New York deli, sushi, burger and pizza trail.
Paul Noble is a producer for Monocle 24.