photo credit: Liz Clayman

L’abeille à côté image

L’abeille à côté



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Inside the dark gray, luxe bunker of a dining room at L’abeille à côté, smooth jazz plays, and Tribeca couples with Birkin bags on little stools by their feet use forks and knives to eat fried chicken lollipops. They might have more fun if they ate with their hands: after all, this is supposed to be the “casual and playful” neighbor of formal French-Japanese spot L’abeille (one of our best restaurants of 2022). For those couples with the Birkin bags, maybe it is. For the rest of us, not so much. 

Despite frequent feelings that the next scratch-off will be the one that wins it all, a casual night out for us doesn't usually involve a wagyu teriyaki burger, $14 french fries, and a $21 martini. Nevertheless, the food at L’abeille à côté is good. A little fussy, but good. Besides that rich, fall-apart burger, you’ll find a short menu of things like buttery scallop tartare, wagyu ribeye, and—the most playful dish here—two, metrocard-sized taiyaki stuffed with a few flakes of sea bass, on a bed of shells and rocks. 

L’abeille à côté image

photo credit: Liz Clayman

In the open kitchen, chefs use tweezers to add garnishes to other dishes, and everything else feels a little staged too. Friendly servers maneuver between closely packed tables, stopping by to ask whether you’d like a bottle of very expensive wine from the cellar to the right of the chic, bee-themed bathroom. A man orders his burger rare, no lettuce. A woman with a massive rock on her finger takes a picture of the chicken, before readying her knife and fork.

L'abeille à côté is the restaurant equivalent of a t-shirt from The Row, but if you’ve got a designer bag that’s just itching to be seen, you could do worse than a fancy happy meal here. When you’ve really got something to celebrate though, like an anniversary, or winning the lottery when you finally win it, we’d recommend just heading next door.    

Food Rundown

L’abeille à côté image

photo credit: Liz Clayman

Kyung’s Fried Chicken

Nobody will eat this fried chicken with their hands. Nobody. Scanning the dining room, you will become desperate. You will consider standing, and making a public service announcement: Attention everyone, it will be better if you eat it with your hands. But this is a fine dining establishment, so you don’t. The chicken itself is fine—you don’t need to order it, but if you do, use your hands.

Scallop Tartare, Crispy Nori Chips

It’s not currently on the menu, but this fishy little number tastes a little like a tuna salad, if it got rich and bought a Birkin. Raw, buttery scallops are chopped fine, mixed with creme fraiche, shallots, and celery, and topped with not one, but two, dusts of some kind. Order it if it ever returns, and scoop it up with crispy nori chips for a truly delightful bite.
L’abeille à côté image

photo credit: Liz Clayman

Wagyu Beef Teriyaki Burger

This is a really good $34 burger. It’s juicier than most burgers we’ve eaten (and we eat a lot of burgers), and it falls apart in your mouth like it was always meant to land there. The teriyaki sauce and mayo swirled on top are a bit like what happens when you go crazy with the sauces in your refrigerator to make a boring meal less boring. But in a good way, like your sauce experiment worked. Note, fries sold separately.
L’abeille à côté image

photo credit: Liz Clayman

Sea Bass in Crispy “Taiyaki” Shell

This is flaky pastry, stuffed with sea bass, with a beurre blanc sauce and blanched bok choy. It’s rich and tastes good, but might leave you wondering what life would be like if this piece of fish broke from its shell and landed on your plate, swimming in its side of creamy, buttery sauce instead. Better, maybe.

Grilled Berkshire Kurobuta Pork, Yuzu Kosho Chimichurri

This pork is well cooked, but when you watch someone take a bite of the burger, you will feel meaty pangs of jealousy. Don’t do this to yourself. Get the burger instead.

French Fries

Do you need to spend $14 on these? No. Will they make your burger eating experience better? Yes.


Suggested Reading

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