20 Skillman Ave
Williamsburg, NY 11211
b/t Lorimer St & Meeker Ave
Our Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ Great
Cards: All Major
Hours: Sun-Thu 6pm – 11pm, Fri & Sat 6pm – 1am
Booze: Full Bar
Subway: L to Lorimer, G to Metropolitan
Menu: Click Here
Bedford & Bowery says:
Instead of the usual Cantonese, Grinker references the rich seasoning and developed flavor of central China. He and his partner, Tracy Jane Young, were both trained in traditional Chinese cooking at a restaurant in New England and have traveled numerous times throughout China advancing their skills. The idea for Kings County Imperial has been simmering between them since 1997, and a brief glance at the dishes, which are served family-style, suggests it was well worth the almost 20-year wait. Naturally, the bar at Kings County Imperial has draft beers — and it also has soy sauce on tap. The soy sauce is an original recipe and comes from the owners’ sister company, Kings County Soy Works. Grinker and Young visited China last August to organize with the fourth generation family of soy sauce makers who produce it.
“There are only two families in all of China who are making soy sauce that way,” said Grinker. “We’re using our recipes, their facility and old world technique to make something really interesting.”
If drinks like the King Kamehameha Club and the Imperial Mai-Tai don’t make you feel like royalty, the setting just might. “The guy who designed the restaurant [Ian McPheely] became obsessed with the project,” said Grinker about his 65-seat restaurant. “He wanted to do something here that was totally different — no exposed brick or subway tiles. To me it’s like an old opium den, but a comfortable one.”
The restaurant focuses on the food of central China made with a number of ingredients grown in the restaurant’s garden, and soy sauce from partner Kings County Soy Works, which flows freely from a tap. Expect dishes like crispy white radish cake with la chuang sausage and shrimp, a whole wheat lo mein made with radishes and cucumber, and prawn fries served with Chinese ketchup. Tiki drinks from former Buttermilk Channel barman Richard Murphy round out the options.