My first restaurant visit of the year was somewhat of an odd one: modern Chinese-American restaurant in a quiet corner of Williamsburg where, walking in, you would never guess this place serves Chinese food. I didn’t see a single Chinese server or cook throughout my meal, and the restaurant didn’t seem to care about being authentic at all. My friend remarked that the food here is something only Caucasians would love; well, maybe so, but the lack of authenticity didn’t deter me from liking this place. While there were some misses, overall the food at Kings County Imperial had pretty good mix of Chinese flavor while showing off some creativity as well.
There is no single regional influence that dominates the menu at Kings County Imperial. There are some hints of Sichuan influence, such as the tasty cucumbers with hot bean, sesame and chili oil, or the dan dan egg noodle with Sichuan pepper, minced pork and peanut. Both dishes were delicious, by the way, but somewhat on the sweeter side compared to the more authentic Sichuan places. Then you have what’s called mock “eel” which is really shiitake mushrooms but tasting like actual eel in texture. This was a very good starter that kept me wondering what kind of trick the kitchen pulled off to create this unique texture.
The pork soup dumplings were not as good as I had hoped, but maybe I should’ve gone to one of the dim sum places in Chinatown to truly indulge in soup dumplings. The highlight of the meal came a little too late, while we were mostly finishing up on the other dishes that we had ordered. Crispy garlic chicken may look like one of those soy sauce dipped roasted chickens at one of the Korean joints, but I was very pleased with its moist and juicy texture and the sweet but not overpowering flavor that worked very well with the poultry.
The restaurant seems to accept guests mostly on a walk-in basis, and by the time we got there around 6:30 p.m., it was already almost packed with a lot of young people from Williamsburg looking to have a pleasant Sunday dinner. There are some Chinese beer selections and Asian-inspired cocktail selections to complement the meal; I’ve become much more of a wine person than a beer person lately, but I kind of regret not going after a glass of Tsingtao and opting for a glass of red wine (but then, it’s probably silly to expect a lot of great wine selections at a Chinese restaurant). Overall, Kings County Imperial was a surprisingly good dining destination that I would like to visit again someday to sample other dishes. The beauty of Chinese cuisine always lies with variety, after all.
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 7.5/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
Address: 20 Skillman Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Telephone: (718) 610-2000