Back in July we predicted that Lucky Bee was going to generate some serious “buzz” (heh). Six months later, we can confirm that the interior decor alone will definitely get people talking when it opens next Thursday (and, I’d wager, Dev and crew visiting in the next installation of Master of None).
Walking into this Thai-inspired restaurant feels like entering a music video’s zingy interpretation of a Southeast Asian seaside bar. The theme is bright and fizzy, punched up by a dash of art-deco-inspired furniture. The exposed brick walls and bar vibrate with zebra zigzags and pink and turquoise neon accents. The ceilings drip with hanging succulents– and quirky knick knacks, like laughing masks and maneki-neko waving cats, jump out from corners. The centerpiece of the restaurant is an oval “Hawker’s station” bar lined with shimmering jars of chef Matty Bennett’s creations– fermented buddha’s hand, Thai chilis pickled with kaffir lime syrup, and preserved Meyer lemons, to mention a few.
Rupert Noffs, one half of the Aussie duo, calls the whole thing “Hollywood Regency spent one night in Bangkok.” If you ask me, it feels in line with recent LES restaurant-darlings Dimes or El Rey, but on steroids. (*On a related note, it seems we’re finally, finally over the rustic-chic farmhouse vibe epitomized by The Fat Radish just a few years ago.)
In keeping with the their sustainable farm-to-table mission (Bennett is an alum of The Fat Radish, after all) Noffs said all the decor was bought locally in Chinatown, practically in a three-block radius. (Though he wouldn’t give away where he picked up those masks).
And what of the plans to install beehives on the rooftop? Apparently the landlord is not convinced this is a safe idea, but Noffs said the team hasn’t given up hope. “If we do really well, we’ll put some railings up to make sure it’s safe,” he said. (They’re actually not the first to try this– there’s a whole network, the New York City Beekeepers Association, supporting honey-loving endeavors.)
The grand opening was repeatedly pushed back over the past few weeks, partly because Con Edison still hasn’t turned on the gas. But Lucky Bee says the show must go on– gas or no gas they’ve set their soft launch for January 21, starting at 5 p.m. Chef Bennett will cook up a special limited “sneak peek” menu on induction burners and electric fryers. “We just don’t have any time to sit around and wait for a multibillion dollar company to tell us when to open,” said Noffs.
Check out the full menu below:
Lucky Bee, 252 Broome Street between Orchard and Ludlow. Open 5:30 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.