Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tuloy po kayo!

Kuma Inn
113 Ludlow, LES

Alexis: After Alex's basketball game at Anna Silver we decided to stop in at Kuma Inn for dinner. The other choice was Black Iron Burger but having just come from TX, he decided we'd had enough burgers for a while. So Kuma Inn it was - mostly Filipino dishes served tapas style.

It's a tiny restaurant, seating only about 30 at the most, with bamboo and rice paper sculptures all over the walls and covering the sconces. A Tribe Called Quest quietly playing on the soundsystem. Sadly they do not have a liquor license but you can bring your own beer, wine or sake, with a corkage fee (!) ranging from $1 per bottle of beer to $5 per 750ml bottle of sake or wine. No booze, but bring your own. And pay us for the privilege! Sounded like pure nonsense to me so we didn't bother. No matter, as they had a small list of in-house non-alcoholic drinks. Alex got a Thai iced tea and I got a glass of kalamansi juice. They came in glasses too small to justify their $3 price tag but hey - maybe it's im-por-ted.

Sauteed Chinese sausage at Kuma Inn
Alexis: We ordered 4 dishes and an order of garlic rice (sinangag). The first was sauteed Chinese sausage served with a spicy green sauce and Thai sticky rice. Can't say much about this dish - I guess it is Thai in inspiration. I've never eaten just plain Chinese sausage like this; even at Srirapthai it was tossed with tomatoes. A "meh" dish to start us off. The green sauce was a good addition but I wouldn't say it "elevated" it in any way.

Pancit bihon at Kuma Inn
Alexis: Pancit bihon with wood ear mushrooms, more Chinese sausage and vegetables. To me this is a more acceptable use of the sausage. It's also good in fried rice. This was very good, and a larger-than-tapas sized portion. However it was very salty and I needed some kalamansi or at least lime to squeeze over the top.

Lechon kawali at Kuma Inn
Alexis: Lechon kawali with atchara and spicy chile-soy-vinegar sauce. I think this was my favorite. Deep fried pork belly with the skin on and sweet pickled papaya! There are few things better in the world. Each piece was crispy, salty and juicy. My only gripe is that they brought this and then no other food came for about 15 minutes, not even our garlic rice. The chef was too busy trying to impress the loud table next to us with free food, I suppose. They were already eating when we were seated but by my count, they received about 5-6 free dishes while we were there, including pork two ways (it looked like kawali and lechon), some sort of corn on the cob dish, and a dessert trio, proving that in NYC, it IS all about who you know.

Special: Spicy green beans at Kuma Inn
Alexis: They were out of the PEI mussels in coconut curry broth but I wanted something with a sauce to eat with the rice. So we decided on one of the specials, spicy green beans in a coconut-curry broth. It might've had a little bagoong in it as well. Delicious and spicy!

Alexis: Overall, the food was very very good. My only gripes are the timing of the food, as mentioned earlier. Also the corkage fees for alcohol are not too appealing, and the a/c was a-crankin! I had to pull out a shawl halfway through dinner and was afraid the food would get cold too fast. I'd definitely go back. The food is delicious and not so far removed from the traditional preparation that it will satisfy my homecooking cravings in a delicious way. One caveat, if you'd call it that - CASH ONLY.

Alexis: *** - work on your timing and I'll throw another star in there. Otherwise food and service are enough to carry you for now.

No comments: