Kings County Imperial is unlike any neighborhood Chinese joint you know. For evidence, look no farther than the soy sauce.
Fermented in small-batches by a fourth-generation soy sauce family in southern China, the inky elixir is dispensed from a wood-handled tap behind the bar. It’s a center stage tip-off to the serious sourcing happening throughout the restaurant.
The menu of this new Williamsburg restaurant opened by Josh Grinker and Tracy Jane Young (the team behind Park Slope’s Stone Park Cafe), is driven as much by the cuisine of Central China as the working garden in back.
Dishes hew to the classics, but their ingredients are just-picked: The weeping tiger salad ($9) is a leafy tangle of cilantro hit with long peppers and dried shrimp, and a bright foil to thick wedges of garlic-smacked Kung Pao-style eggplant ($9). In its first year, the raised beds—planned by a Brooklyn Botanical Garden horticulturalist to make the most of the tight space—have been wild with Chinese greens like tat soi and choy sum, long beans and goji berries. The restaurant plans to triple its output next year.
Order the day’s Shanghai soup dumplings and you’ll be rewarded with brothy purses filled early each morning with Berkshire heritage pork ($12). The whole fish, dependent on the dayboat catch off Eastern Long Island, is steamed with black beans and arrives on the plate feted with ginger and scallion confetti (market price). The crispy garlic chicken ($24) is Lancaster County-bred organic and polished with honey from Younger’s own backyard bees.
There’s take-out for local Williamsburg-ers, but the space is perfect for a sit-down date: Cast in an amber glow, the opium den dining room is pure romance. This is food for more than a Netflix night.
Kings County Imperial
20 Skillman Avenue, Brooklyn
718 610 2000