The Beehive Brings Bohemia to the South End
The Beehive, which sits unobtrusively in the South End, reflects the eclectic nature of La Ruche [“the beehive”] an early 20th Century French artistic haven. La Ruche was a retreat for idealist thinkers and artisans of varying cultures and backgrounds. The Beehive brings this same bohemian philosophy into the décor, cuisine and atmosphere of this buzzing restaurant and jazz club.
The restaurant is separated into three main areas: the bar, main dining room and stage. With this separation of space, guests are able to have three distinct experiences. In the bar, the after work crowd can gather for a quick drink. In the main dining room, diners have space to make conversation the main focus. In the stage area, patrons can groove to the sounds of live jazz.
The exposed brick walls feature cascading deep plum draperies. The lights, crystal chandeliers and flickering table candles add to the intimate ambiance. Everywhere you look there is something eye catching; from the mounted moose head to the whimsical birds that adorn a sheer window dressing. The pieces seem strange individually, but put together add warmth and depth.
“We want guests to feel like this is their home, to share, to eat and be comfortable,” said Bertil Jean-Chronberg, general manager and sommelier.
Jean-Chronberg boasts that they have one of the most expansive champagne lists in the area, with over 69 brands that can be bought by the bottle.
The cocktail list is not as expansive, but still piques interest. Favorites are The Queen Bee (Tito’s Vodka, fresh grapefruit, St. Germaine and champagne) and the brunch Beelini made with fresh apricot nectar and champagne.
I opted for the Bodeya Dante Robina Malbec bottled in Mendoza, Argentina. The subtly spicy flavor paired well with the flavorful meal to come.
The menu brings together the diverse cultures of the original La Ruche house with Arabian, French and Polish influences. Though it’s not advertised, all food menu items are fresh, locally sourced, organic (when possible) and cruelty-free.
“We don’t advertise it, because when you are a quality restaurant that is what you do; that is what you should be doing,” Jean-Chronberg says. “You should want to put out the best quality food. Here we make soul food. Food from the soul. When you are passionate about what you do that goes into everything that you produce.”
The truffled potato and cheese perogies were served with caramelized onions on top, a side of sour cream and a side salad. Though it is an appetizer, it was portioned to be shared. The crisp vinaigrette salad was a nice compliment to the heavier savory flavors of the perogies.
The Beehive Frites (potato, sage and sea salt) which were listed as a side, could also be placed on the appetizer list as the portion was massive. It is important to note frites are served as a thick chip rather than a traditional French fry.
Other popular appetizers are the Moroccan Cigars (lamb-filled phyllo spring rolls) and poutine (cheese and gravy frites) — listed as side dishes.
The clever presentation of the popular Moroccan couscous made an impression. To satisfy varying tastes, vegetarian and lamb with chicken options are available. The sauce was very spicy, but fortunately comes in a side dish to add as little or as much desired heat.
Other popular dishes are skirt steak, NY strip, filet mignon and rib eye varieties.
The Maple Syrup Bread Pudding was the dessert choice. It was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and topped with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. It was delightfully crunchy on the outside and soft and spongy on the inside. It was a little dry even with the ice cream and maple syrup, so paring it with a hot chamomile tea was the perfect coupling.
The Beehive was recently named one of the top 100 jazz clubs in the world by Downbeat Magazine and has free nightly, live entertainment at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Acts range from local artists to world-renowned, Grammy Award-winning musicians.
Why you should visit:
The Beehive stays true to the bohemian spirit that blends cultures in music, cuisine and styling. Their attention to producing quality food and intimate atmosphere makes it a space where anyone can feel at home.
541 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02116