In Bushwick it’s not terribly unusual to be a little bonkers in your professional presentation–see any of the nutso promo videos put out by the great Roberta’s… or, better yet, go to their awesome Bushwick Block Party on July 27. But even in a neighborhood where the preferred aesthetic is graffiti, glitchy gifs and 8-bit clip art, the brand new “Pop-Asian” restaurant King Noodle stands out for the sheer wacko-ness of its design. Which, by the way, I think is a good thing. Especially when your kitchen can turn out food as lively and satisfying as you’ll find here.
The Executive Chef at King Noodle is Nick Subic, who’s worked at two of my favorite Brooklyn restaurants, the hall-of-famer Roberta’s, and the equally, agreeably oddball Do or Dine, as well as the ballyhooed Gowanus spot The Pines. Needless top say, then, there are as many delightful surprises on the King Noodle menu as there are spray-painted onto the walls. Subic’s Kimchee Carbonara is getting a lot of attention, for example, especially since you can get it topped with crushed Nacho Cheese Doritos. Mapo Chili Cheese Fries sounds like a bit of a gut-buster, but my respect for Chef Subic makes the Spam Fried Rice actually seem appealing.
I ordered three items on my first visit to King Noodle last week, and thoroughly enjoyed them all. The Grilled Whole Pike Mackerel arrives looking exactly as you’d expect, and if you like your fish crunchy, rich, oily, AND with a side of killer kimchee, this is the move. The Spicy Wings were plump and crispy and bathed in Three Skulls Sauce (two kinds of chilis, garlic, lime, kimchee brine), though Subic could amp up the heat a bit here as far as I’m concerned. But a place called King Noodle is, of course, going to live and die by its noodles. And by this measure, King Noodle has a long, raucous future ahead of it in the neighborhood. I tried Chef Subic’s Wavy Noodles with Pork and Shrimp (at $15, the most expensive dish on the King Noodle menu), and it was awesome: the egg-based pasta bouncy, the shrimps plump and sweet, the pork nice and chewy, the whole bowl hyped up with chilis and, again, kimchee.
And for the drinkers among you, King Noodle has big cans of beer, hot and cold sake, and, most notably, all kinds of tiki-room cocktails, like the shareable Scorpion Bowl, which arrives literally on fire. As you can imagine, the place is beyond casual, but the staffers are all total pros, And a disco balls joins the the constantly-changing colored neon lighting. Joining the likes of Roberta’s, Dear Bushwick, and Mama Joy’s, King Noodle is a welcome addition to this increasingly destination-dining-worthy stretch of Bushwick.
King Noodle is located on Flushing Avenue right near Morgan (and, so, right near the Morgan Avenue stop on the L). Open daily for dinner from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight (Sunday to Thursday) and 2:00 a.m. (Friday and Saturday). See here for more information and the King Noodle menu.