Khemistry Bar
Khemistry Bar

By Anika Hazlewood

Walking up to the newly opened Khemistry Bar, an American gastropub and restaurant, located at 216 Malcolm X Boulevard in Bed-Stuy, was exciting!

As there was no visible sign posted (at least not at the time of my visit), it gave me the feeling of discovery, and my initial impression was favorable:  The lighting was friendly; the dining room was a combo of modern and rustic; the space overall, small but ample. There is also rumored to be an expansive backyard space that sounds promising for the summer.

After being introduced to the extremely friendly staff, I took a seat at the bar. I soon found out that although cute, the wrought iron barstools were not the most comfy. The menu was small and straightforward with just two starters, three mains and one dessert.

The ‘dance’ music playing in the background was at hard angle to the sophistication of the decor. But in all fairness, it was barely audible– drowned out by the conversation happening between the kitchen and dining room staff.  Hmmm…

Opting to be seated at a table, I ordered both starters (the crostini and the butternut squash soup) to share with a friend.  We each ordered the half chicken with lemon and thyme as our main course. The butternut squash soup was lackluster and the crostini, basic.  If there was another ingredient present in the soup, it was a closely guarded secret as all we detected was squash.  As for our chicken, it was juicy.  That’s it.  It was juicy chicken.

I asked our waiter for salt and pepper to which he replied “We don’t do that here.” After a lengthy explanation as to why they do not make available condiments on the table, another server found some and brought it to our table.  Our asparagus was quite overcooked, as opposed to the potatoes, which were undercooked.

With such a straightforward menu, I expected culinary genius. But I was disappointed. Not only that, there was a young woman sitting next to us who brought her child in to eat but struggled to find anything on the menu suitable for her little one– except the chocolate chip cookie (the only dessert item on the menu).

The air was humming with the excitement of a new restaurant opening, which was endearing. However, the food was bland; our (primary) server was a ‘close-talker;’ the seats were uncomfortable and the music, inappropriate.

What was so unfortunate was how well-intentioned the staff seemed. They were hospitable and sweet.

In my opinion this place fell short. I left feeling like I’d left a friend of a friend’s house party, to which I’d arrived early … so … they were not quite ready yet? Awkward.

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  1. If one could borrow from New-York Magazine’s “The Approval Matrix” four-quadrant chart, this blogger’s review of Khemistry Bar, would fall appropriately into the very last box of LOWBROW & DESPICABLE.

  2. …..when I first read this article I was somewhat disgusted and vowed to never read and/or patronize this media outlet again. Subsequently, I went to Khemistry Bar on Thursday, like I have every week since they’ve opened and to not speak would be a mistake. It’s extremely evident that the author lacked editorial integrity and less concerned out building up our community and more focused on personal digs to the lady who owns the space. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for nearly 20 years and can honestly say, we are very glad that Khemistry Bar is in our neighborhood.

    I’ve patronized this restaurant bar every week since it’s opening on NYE. I would assume that cool dance music would be expected; was this not the night before we usher in an new year and thank the good Lord for making it through the last. Yes, the first night they only served a few items, but I thought that’s what a pre-fix menu was. Ms. Hazelwood, do you have another interpretation that us educated folks aren’t privy to? The fact that the menu has evolved in just the first few weeks to reflect the needs of the it’s patrons, even including a kids menu, speaks volumes.

    And when did describing chicken as ‘juicy’ become an negative attribute? Is there more to this article than a honest critique? hmmmm….Really Ms. Hazelwood? U must not live in Bed-Stuy or been by the place in the past few weeks.

    Culinary genius? Does Peaches Hothouse have it? What about Saraghina or Besso?

    I’ve eaten there 5 times since opening and the staff has been very consistent and gracious. I’ve taken my daughter and they created a meal for her because she’s lactose intolerant. Thursday, my girls and I listened to a lady from the neighborhood sing a great Donny Hathaway song but I assume u weren’t there. This article is utterly embarrassing! Ms. Hazelwood, we don’t need your type of media……it doesn’t build community, it cripples it.

  3. Wow, Kema. I haven’t been to the bar yet. But I for one appreciated this review. I don’t understand the attack on the writer since she’s only recounting her experience. Why does it offend you so? It sounds a little personal. I’ve lived in this area for close to 20 years. And I can honestly say, there are a lot of restaurants that have opened up in the neighborhood over the last 3-5 years– some are great; some leave a lot to be desired. And if an honest review will make the mediocre ones “step up their game,” then I say that’s a good thing! Honestly, I haven’t visited Khemistry yet. But I will be sure to do so, and will leave my impression. But whether good, bad or somewhere in between, my impression will be just that– MY impression!

    1. Similiar to the other patron, ImHungry Let’seat, the article lacks a true critique but more a personal bias…..I didn’t call the artical despicable though. You and I aren’t tasked with being responsible w/ vocalizing our opinions being that we’re not contributors to a public-facing median, ie a newspaper such as the BK Reader. I think my mistake is perceiving this article was penned by a professional journalists, that’s on me. I’ve asked around and my neighbors advised me that the author is a blogger or sorts. As such, editorial integrity and/or fair and impartial statements, shouldn’t be expected; again, my mistake. And yes, it is personal because, unlike you, I’ve visited the restaurant several times, had a chance to meet the owners and see their passion in providing a great experience to every customer while I was there. Considering the numerous positive reviews from magazines and patrons, alike…..I’m not the only one who has had a great experience there.

  4. Greetings, my name is Vivian, most around here know me as viv, mainly because I was born and raised here in bed-stuy, I love it here, always have, even before the (NEW POPULARITY) influx of people to bed stuy, any hoot, I found myself needing a littel extra cash to pay some bills, you know how it go, you pay all your bills then one or two up jump the boogie on you! Any hoot I needed extra cash so I applied for employment at this establishment, all went well, or so I was led to believe, the second interview was with the husband,(it’s a husband and wife who owns this establishment) very nice individual, he offered me a seat, and a cup of coffee, and was with me within 15 minutes. To make this short as possible,
    After receiving what my duties would be, my information was taken,and I was under the impression I had the job, especially after there was great interest in my hubbies landscaping skills that were discussed at length, I also arranged my schedule at my 1st job to accommodate this one, at the start of the first snow storm I called the wife, she said she was not opening that day and to call her husband, I took the husbands number and immediately called him, he answered and told me to come back wed, when arriving on wed to start working, I was verbally assaulted! And The wife acts as if the interviews never occurred, I ask her to speak in private since she had no ill feelings about being verbally abusive in front of her patrons, I however didin’t want to be humiliated as well as the establishment receiving a bad name, so we stepped to the side and she let me have it! She told me verbatim “YOU TALK TO FAST I DON’T TRUST YOU, I WOULD NEVER TRUST YOU WITH MY KEYS”
    My head started swimming, I swore I landed in a old school episode of twilight zone!
    I don’t understand what happened, or what occurred. My point being, you could have just said my services were no longer needed, the way you ( the wife) verbally assaulted my loyalty,integrity and all around good nature was very unprofessional. But let one not this altercation be a bad influence on your experience of one of the finest bars around. Hope my baby don’t get me at me this is his ipad.

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