Southeast Asian, family-style, psychedelic hot pink and teal tables, center bar, giant fried chicken wings, and two Australian owners. What more could you ask for these days? No, but really? This is the perfect restaurant to add your repertoire. This is exactly how us New Yorkers like to eat these days- by ordering the entire menu in bliss. That, my friends, is not a joke. With only 10 dishes on the menu, you’d be a fool not to try them all. The space is very Lower East Sider. Small and tight as an oversized doll house, with awesome neon colors that boost self esteem, and two bar areas that scream “date me or snag a seat and a bowl of curry with yourself and call it a night.” My favorite small plate are the Smashed Cucumbers with dill, pickle, fried peanuts, sweet rice vinegar, and coconut milk. The heaping portion is served in a wooden bowl and fresh as can be. It’s crunchy, sweet, savory and a mound of vegetables all in one. The Tuna Tartare is unlike any traditional tartare you are used to ordering. It sits atop a bed of popped wild rice which adds texture and a new look to this dish. Into it. The traditional Green Papaya Salad with tamarind, lime, toasted peanuts, and snake beans is another amazing and addicting item. I mean to be this happy with just these few small plates so far was only an understatement. They are like little snacks, but big enough portions for 4 or 5 to get enough of each. That’s all we are asking for these days, so we should all bow down to Chef Matty B. The Szechuan Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings with Tamarind should have its own category on the menu. These gigantic wings are the size of a toddlers arm. Watch out for the hot temperature of these bad boys. They might burn your fingers a tad, but it’s worth the wait to bite into them. The abundant meat is fried not all the way to an intense crisp but enough to where it’s still soft yet crunchy skin. Get after that dipping sauce. Skip the dumplings.
Red Curry with Prawns
On to the Large Plates. Well, I basically drank the end of the bowl of Spiced Mussaman Curry of Lamb Shoulder, so that’s your answer to what I think about that. With all of the large plates, Lucky Bee provides you with a bowl of rice for each. It might look like an overload, but you’ll understand why you need this. It’s the best vehicle possible for any leftover sauce that you would be a fool to leave in that bowl. The lamb is in little pieces, and to be honest, they could have given a little more, but the sauce is so delightful, I got over that real quick. My next favorite is the Red Curry with King Prawns, Apple Eggplant, Roasted Bell Pepper and Thai Basil. It’s spicy and comforting. The Coconut Chicken is cooked beautifully, but the other two curry’s just stand out so hard I prefer those.
I have to mention, that I weirdly love the bathroom. It feels different than the rest of the restaurant and plays sick music. You kind of feel like you are under the stars or in a jungle. Just take a chance in there. All in all, Lucky Bee is one of my new favorite restaurants and successfully adds to the necessary Southeast Asian restaurant community here. Uncle Boons, Pig & Khao, and Khe-Yo, you are in good company. Thank you for making your mark, Lucky Bee. We need more of you!