If you take Louisiana country cooking one step back—okay, maybe a few more steps back—you eventually get to Acadia, the 17th-century French colony that is now Eastern Canada and the Maritime Provinces. The French colonists there, before heading down south, knew the meaning of gamey, nuanced country grub (think delicately cut ham or potato dumplings with lamb’s neck) before the advent of slathering everything in hot sauce and Chipotle mayo. Honoring those forefathers’ wishes is the team at East Village’s intimate and well-reviewed King Bee. The rustic and homey interior is both a time machine and history teacher showcasing dishes delightfully new to today’s tongue, all made from a few savory flavors you already love.
How is it that Manhattan houses menus from everywhere in the world between all the cute outdoor tables and awninged bars? You don’t have to head halfway across the globe to get authentic Philippine flavors, like those served up Lower East Side’s Pig & Khao, just a few blocks from King Bee’s charming French-style farmhouse. And just like the former, when you step between King Bee’s black cottage chairs and hardwood slated flooring, you’re transported elsewhere. This time, it’s to a cozy cottage straight out of a fairy tale. Settle in at a table in this sixty seater and order The Alley The Icewagon, a refreshing Negroni “lite” done with coldbrew vermouth that’s perfect for sipping as you cool off.
The word “munchies” gets thrown around a lot these days, but it should be saved for next-level snacking like King Bee’s pork cracklings—very chewy, and topped with cane sugar caramel and malt vinegar powder. Next, balance that sweet with some savory grilled oysters served with artichoke garlic butter in an appetizer so refined, you’ll feel surprised those bristled colonists could dust themselves off so well. Finally, the salt pork confit lobster is a feast for the eyes, as the red claws pop against vibrantly green spinach and golden grits. And each bite lives up to its presentation.
It’s tricky though—would the colonist in you be most satisfied with the solid rib eye instead? Maybe, but then you wouldn’t have room for the obligatory slice of pecan pie to take your homestyle meal all the way home. Those colonists were never one to shy away from adventure. So see how your own spirit sways you after following it to this new royal pleasure.