Mads Refslund, chef and co-founder of the Copenhagen restaurant Noma, the “World’s Best Restaurant,” just opened ILIS, a new wood-fired kitchen and restaurant in Greenpoint, and if there’s one thing we can say about it it’s that they’re offering New Yorkers a pretty unique dining experience.
And, considering Refslund has been working on the restaurant for years, we wouldn’t expect anything less.
ILIS, from the Danish words for fire (“ild”) and ice (“is”), focuses on plants, seafood, and wild and sustainable North American bison and venison, the only four-legged animals you’ll find on the menu.
The ingredient-forward dishes will be served raw/chilled (incorporating the “is”) or cooked over a large open fire (bringing in the “ild” aspect).
What makes the space unique is their dining policy–guests are required to order at least five dishes (a minimum of $150) in the dining room.
It’s not exactly a tasting menu, however, as there’s flexibility on choice of course, manner of preparation (i.e. hot or cold), and length of the dining experience. Whether a guest wants to dine for 1.5 hours or 4 hours, Refslund doesn’t want them to feel trapped by a set menu or time.
To begin the dining experience, carts of seafood and produce are presented tableside. Afterwards, guests select the ingredients of their choosing as well as deciding whether they’re prepared hot or cold (or both).
Opening menu dish examples include Shigoku Oysters with green almond and cucumber, a Surf Clam fashioned into a flask, sealed with beeswax, and filled with a chilled clam drink with tomato water and smoked dashi, and BBQ Eel “On The Cob,” wild caught and brought to chefs live, brined for 48 hours, then smoked. A marigold flower is used by the guest to brush it with tare (a savory Japanese glaze).
There will also be a shared dish for the table, which is only served in one preparation (such as a whole roast wild duck). Each dish is delivered personally by the chefs.
As for the restaurant itself, it’s housed inside a 4,500-square-foot former rubber factory warehouse. The open concept space features a 14-seat bar and a lounge situated at the entrance and a large open kitchen in the center with 58 wrap-around seats.
According to Mads and the team all the best dinner parties wind up in the kitchen, and that’s exactly what they want ILIS to feel like.
Aging compartments for meat, game, and fish, as well as temperature controlled compartments for plants and flowers can also be found in the space, and plants and flowers will be dried on workstations and hanging from walls and the ceiling beams, doubling as eye-catching art pieces.
Reservations can be made on ILIS’ website, and a very select amount of lounge tables are available for walk-in. The bar is also fully walk-in.
A casual Saturday service will eventually be offered, and a 1,500-square-foot private dining room space adjacent to the restaurant is set to open later in the season.
📍 150 Green Street, Greenpoint
🗓️ Tuesday – Friday, 5:30 p.m. – 12 a.m.