UPDATE MARCH 2018: This article is no longer up to date and Industry Standard is closed for renovation right now with a reopening being highly uncertain.
Industry Standard is a ground breaking Berlin eatery bringing modern bistro food and finer cuisine to Neukölln. Apart from serving what possibly could be Berlin’s best beef tartar, this establishment dishes out stellar food and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere and is quite frankly one of the city’s most interesting, modern restaurants.
Industry Standard opened its doors at the end of January 2015 in a very unassuming corner of Neukölln, on the dark end of Sonnenallee. This part of Neukölln has in the last two years probably seen the most rapid development in terms of gastronomy for all of Berlin, but most of the openings have been cafés, bars and restaurants with food priced at the the lower end of the scale. Industry Standard is one the first Neukölln eateries that dared to venture into the fields of finer dining, but compared to places like Eins44, they have adapted their concept to the local mix of hip foreigners.
Together, this mix of experienced people have managed to create one of the most exciting eateries Berlin has seen in modern time.
The crew behind Industry represents the new generation of Berlin restaurateurs, a mix of foreigners and locals who worked the Berlin scene for a couple of years and took their skill set to realize a fine dining concept with their own twist. One of the main brains behind the project is Ramses Manneck, a Mexican chef who will be most familiar to you as the person who introduced Mexican food to Berlin by opening the iconic Mexican eateries Maria Bonita and Santa Maria. He has plenty of industry experience, with several restaurant openings across the globe under his belt, but in the last years he added a layer of fine dining experience by staging at a couple of Michelin starred restaurants in Scandinavia. He met his Finnish chef Sara at Maemo in Oslo and eventually convinced her to live her job at Pauly Saal to come and work for him at Industry Standard project. Viktoria and Alonso, who Ramses worked with at The Bird, run the bar and the operations of the restaurant. Together, this mix of experienced people have managed to create one of the most exciting eateries Berlin has seen in modern time.
The Sonnenallee in Neukölln is not the prettiest part of Berlin and when it comes to number of casinos, it’s pretty much only rivaled by its famous counterpart, the Las Vegas Strip. You’re going to have to look closely to find Industry Standard as thre is no sign, a good beacon for navigation is the open show kitchen that is located street side with a huge storefront window. When you see a couple of rough-looking, tattooed chefs cooking, you know you have reached your destination. The open kitchen concept is modern and smart and although most of the tables are located in the back of the restaurant, there are also a couple of stools at the bar where you can watch the kitchen bang out your food. The venue does feel highly improvized and low budget, wooden planks are nailed to the walls, lights are dimmed off with brown paper and a closer look at the limited kitchen equipment further emphasizes how this is a project is in it’s very early days. This does not all impact the experience in a bad way though, it really just reinforces the “work-in-progress” and entrepreneur spirit of the place.
I kid you not that this is one of the best things you can eat in Berlin right now
The menu at Industry Standard reads a lot like that of amy modern bistro in London or Paris, with the emphasis on simple but yet high quality food and beverages. It joins the newly established Berlin niche of very casual fine dining experiences in the likes of Cordobar and Nobelhart & Schmutzig, but manages to tone it down even more in terms of casual atmosphere. The menu offers a selection of around 15 medium-sized dishes and a couple of bar snacks. It’s simple, seasonal and all about the produce. Where it makes sense in terms of quality, the produce is sourced regionally, but it’s not emphasized in the concept. The plates work best of you just order in a bunch of them and share them family style. This will solve the inevitable problem of you wanting to try all the dishes on the menu. It will however not solve the very problematic feeling of envy you’ll experience when you see your dinner partner(s) grab that last spoonful of tartar that you wanted all for yourself. As your nutritional advisor, I advice you to remedy this by ordering even more food.
Signature dishes include the beef tartar, a killer take on the classic dish, served in different versions that reflect the season. I remember one iconic version served with horseradish yoghurt, fermented red cabbage, lots of browned butter and tiny bits of crispy chicken skin. I can tell you that it’s every bit as delicious as it sounds and I kid you not that this is one of the best things you can eat in Berlin right now. The acidic yoghurt and the beet with the sweet, nutty butter and crispy skin take that tartar to unexpected levels of rich tastiness. Same thing applies to signature dish number two, bone marrow a la Fergus Henderson and St. John’s, where the rich creaminess of the buttery marrow works so ridiculously well on the toast with parsley salad and where I relive that same thought every time I scrape out the last parts of marrow: Why does it have to end? Why aren’t these bones larger? Like dinosaur size?
The rest of the menu follows the same line of thought, great ingredients are highlighted beautifully without any unnecessary noise or fuss. Crispy pork belly is served with clams in a damn good broth, heavenly deep fried lambs brains with chimichurri, a scotch egg with remoulade, brassicas cabbage leaves with sheep’s yoghurt and dill. While I would say that the kitchen’s game is the strongest when it comes to meat, the vegetable dishes were all fantastic as well and the only category that didn’t fully convince were the fish dishes. But then again, as a Swede I’m also very hard to please when it comes to food like mackerel and pickled herring.
It has quite frankly never been easier to sum up how I feel about a restaurant in just two words: FUCK YES!
The food concept is beautifully paired with a very strong beverage selection. Cocktail master Gordon whips up some magical drinks, like for example his highly recommendable signature cocktail with bone marrow washed bourbon. The wine list is great and focuses (of course) on natural wines supplied by Viniculture, and if they in the future also add an equally great craft beer selection to their menu, preferably on draft, they tick all the boxes of the modern bistro and I will have to move to Neukölln.
The first time I went to Industry Standard, I was very impressed by the quality of the experience, to an extent where I figured that my next visit would surely mean a reality check. It didn’t. Industry Standard is for me one of the most exciting restaurants we have in Berlin right now. It brings a kind of gastronomy to the city that we’ve been missing dearly, where truly great food is served in a very relaxed setting and where the emphasis is on the food and not the bloody venue. Industry Standard is far from a finished concept, and yes the service can at times be slightly inattentive and slow, but in this setting I really don’t care that much. Industry Standard is a huge step forward for the scene and it has quite frankly never been easier to sum up how I feel about a restaurant in just two words: FUCK YES! See you there soon. And watch out so I don’t steal your tartar.
CHECK OUT INDUSTRY STANDARD IN THIS MUNCHIES VIDEO: