Tørst is a beer Bar. Tørst is also known for its Scandinavian tasting menu, Luksus. Sadly Luksus is no longer a thing, and the Chef that brought Luksus to light, Daniel Burns no longer works there, and the Michelin-starred Luksus is no longer a thing. They closed at the end of 2016.
Fret not, because, under Chef Jesus Cervantes, Tørst is still awesome.
(The bar at torst)
First off, the crew is tiny. We’re talking four people run the whole BOH. Although they do have a small space, maybe twenty seats including the bar, everything on their menu is made from scratch, with few exceptions. and everything is made well, there’s no slacking in this kitchen, no cutting corners and everyone has similar goals and gets along incredibly well. They are the epitome of a family in the industry.
There are a lot of interesting people at Tørst. Including Tae from Korea, Max who is from San Fransisco region, Mike who was off that day (I’m sure I’ll catch him later) and Chef Cervantes, who is much better known as Chuy (pronounced Chewy, Which is an awesome nickname), from Al Paso.
(Delicious little nori parker house buns)
These are incredible guys who really care about what they do. They are all into it, and Chuy gives them an incredible amount of space to make the place theirs. Just to give a few examples Max runs the bread program, Tae created the incredible Kimchi dog and the entire time I was there Chuy was asking everyone what they wanted to do for the new menu.
This kitchen runs the way I dream of kitchens running. There is no yelling, everyone is there to learn and they keep each other honest without being giant dicks. Everything is clean and the stress level is manageable. There is a lot of prep, but they don’t rush through it because they are prepared. This is a great kitchen just to be in, it feels nice.
(Char, spicy and acidic)
The menu is delicious. I think they are still trying to figure out who they are as a restaurant, especially after Luksus closed, but they are moving in a great direction. They still hold on to the Danish a little bit, but honestly, I hope that turns into accents and they can just make what they want because that food is strong. I want that food in my mouth.
The line is very small, but they are doing what they can with what they have. It’s not incredibly efficient, there is a lot of grabbing things out of the lowboy, but I think it works for them. After a second you get the feel for it and it works. I’m also impressed with just how much diversity of food they push out of that little kitchen.
They make their bread out of their Combi Oven. Which to me is amazing. This is a perfect example of deciding you want to make something and then working with what you have. For anyone that doesn’t know a Combi oven is a Combination oven, it bakes, and steams or does both. They are not made for bread, and it is very hard to make bread in one without a good amount of practice and patience.
(House made loafs)
The bread is great, It looks awesome, it’s obviously well cared for and it tastes fantastic. the nori Parker house rolls are buttery, seaweedy(sp?) and delicate, the Sourdough has a great crumb and crust and is perfect for any amount of whipped butter, and the rugbrød is just as good, if not better than the rugbrød I ate in Copenhagen.
The other food is delicious. It’s just really well thought out, seasonal and tasty. It’s the kind of place that if I lived in Brooklyn I would go every day and just grab a plate or two and hang out. It’s just the stuff I want to eat. Between the kimchi hot dog, the burger and the Torta. Oh my god the torta. This is the best veggie sandwich ever, toasted puffy soft buttery bun, grilled Oaxaca cheese, and a healthy amount of avocado. It kills.
Everything else on the menu is delicious, and it feels super midwest to me. A lot of places in NYC I feel like have a very, we are this, kind of menu, and Tørst doesn’t do that. They are kind of like, we like it, put it on. And that’s great. They have a dish that’s Asian pear balls, that are compressed in delicious liquid with turnips, that are also pressed in delicious liquid, and then they finish it with greens and ranch and throw it in a bowl. I mean, how can you get mad at that? That’s a great dish, it’s simple, I love it.
The tartar is delicious as well. It’s made with New York strip (they also have a steak dish), salted plums, and green walnuts (sometimes green almonds). Just like everything else on the menu, it just feels good, It works. That’s how the rest of the menu is as well.
I staged on a slower day, I didn’t get to see the kitchen in all of its glory, slinging a good amount of food with just two people (three at most) on that little line. But I did get a good feel for what that would look like. Chuy, and then later Tae showed me how to do a good amount of the dishes, and they were all very simple, very pretty and exceptionally well thought out.
The line is simple. a small flat top, a couple of induction (electric) Burners and a combi oven. Everything is very clean and the mise is very tight. They use a medium-sized pot with oil so they can fry. and that’s about it. This line is very bare bones. I think that makes it more fun. It means that in order for them to do a dish they really have to figure out how it’s going to work on their line.
(Kim Chi Hot Dog)
Toward the end of my stage, Tae Kicked me off the line, told me I worked enough and I needed to have a couple of beers. Then he went and got me a beer because I was being stubborn. My point is that these guys care about the people around them. If I lived in Brooklyn, I would do my best to work here. I just like the vibe. It’s the kind of place that just feels right.
This restaurant is a place that I think, with some time, is going to become somewhere very special. I think they need some time to get loose of the luksus shadow and show that their food is different and fun and that they have their own Identity.
I can’t wait to go back.