The Beehive, South End, Boston

After we tasted The Beehive’s Chef Rebecca Newell’s homage to her grandmother, truffled peirogis with homemade smoked salmon at the Chefs for Obama fundraiser, we knew we would be back to The Cyclorama to try Newell’s menu. The Beehive oozes cool with the red and gold curtains, funky art and its cavernous space.

Since 2007, The Beehive has been a Bohemian fixture in the South End offering creative cuisine, brunch, well crafted-cocktails and of course the jazz. We have been to The Beehive week nights for happy hour and birthdays, but never for a proper meal.

On weekends, the line is out the door and sometimes a long wait. The crowd can be hit or miss and the bar area uncomfortably overcrowded.  Our other favorite jazz haunts are Regatta BarWally’s and Darryl’s Corner Bar.

We were happy to enjoy the performance  of one of the most charismatic and talented young musicians Mark Zaleski and the angelic Aubry Johnson. Our friend Mark has toured with Jethro Tull and has been performing with Aubry for years now. Mark’s saxophone and innate musicality, whether performing solo or as a guest star, with his Brooklyn-based brother Glenn Zaleski or with a band, really inspires.

We noticed the acoustics varied throughout The Beehive. Although the band’s sound was clear and audible directly in front of the stage, it was difficult to hear Aubry’s airy, yet powerful voice well in the upstairs dining area. Next time, we will plan on requesting or going early for the seats closests to the performers.

In the upstairs dining area, performance footage was projected against the white wall and the holiday lights highlights a very mysterious area behind the brick wall. Super cool.

Our friends enjoyed their Pink Flamingo (Citron Vodka, Luxardo Maraschino Liquer, White Cranberry, Pomegranate) and the Beehive Honey Brew. Although I considered the Persian Kitty cocktail with Pomegranate and ginger liquor, per my friend’s suggestion, I tried the Valentino Martini (Vodka, Blood Orange, Passion fruit) for $11. I would definitely enjoy lightly sweet, tangy and smooth cocktail again.

The Valentino cocktail reminded me of one of my favorite fashion documentaries, Valentino: The Last Emperor, which displays the luxurious world of fashion icon Valentino Garavani, his partner Giancarlo Giammetti and features his last couture collection.

I am always moved by the romantic scene of the elegant ballerinas floating in the air to a haunting opera.  I mentally cheer when Valentino responds to the comment, “There are a lot of people who say no one can replace you.” The designer cleverly states, “Après moi, le déluge.” (After me, the deluge).

When we were in our teens, both my sister and I played jazz piano in the local jazz band. Although we no longer play, we deeply appreciate jazz music and continue to integrate it in our lives.  We love soulful trumpeter Jason Palmer, vocalist Whitney James and through an opera singer friend’s insistence, we are now following vocalist Rachael Price (love her renditions of I Only Have Eyes For You and Trolley Song).

The table shared the Beehive Frites with sage & sea salt ($9), which had the perfect balance of tenderness and crispness. The frites were aromatic and had the right amount of sprinkling of salt. I would order them again and for an additional $1.50, make them into Poutine with cheese and gravy (the Poutine at The Gallows is stellar).

The sole, made gluten-free, was tender, flakey and perfectly cooked. I really enjoyed the brightness from the lemon and the additional bitterness from greens.

I would return to enjoy the jazz brunch and try the Short Rib, Farmhouse Cheddar & Fontina Grilled cheese ($15) and the Borscht Soup for $9 (BMH’s attempt of Borscht and the only other place we know serving borscht is at the Lithuanian Club in South Boston). Just because we love fried dough, we would have to try the Basket of Beignets for $9 (the best beignets are at Cafe du Monde).

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