Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: King Bee

Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: King Bee

Article excerpt



Open for dinner Wednesdays through Mondays. Entrees $19-$32.

424 E. 9th St. (646-755-8088)

There may come a day when the words "Dan Smith Will Teach You Guitar" won't mean much. For now, they're instantly familiar as the headline of a ubiquitous flyer, posted on bulletin boards across the city for the past twenty years, advertising music lessons with a suspiciously ordinary-looking man. At King Bee, a new restaurant in the East Village, they're also the name of a cocktail, a kicky mix of Cocchi Americano Rosa and a particularly vinegary plum shrub, served on the rocks with a wedge of lemon. The drink is unusual enough that it doesn't need a gimmick, but this feels like an act of cultural preservation--the de-facto theme of King Bee, whose Web site describes it as "inspired by the Acadian culinary tradition."

"Acadian" is a word that you may have trouble defining, unless you've spent time in the Canadian Maritimes, where the French colony known as Acadia was established in the seventeenth century, or in Louisiana, where many Acadians settled after they were expelled by the British, a century later. (It was there that the word morphed into "Cajun.") After trips to Newfoundland and the Bayou, the King Bee co-owners Eben Klemm (a molecular biologist turned beverage consultant) and Ken Jackson (an original partner in the New Orleans restaurant Herbsaint) came up with a menu that represents both places, then refined it with the chef Jeremie Tomczak, who worked for Marcus Samuelsson at Aquavit and the Red Rooster. …

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