Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Restaurant Series: Kuma Inn

We love finding unconventional, new, hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Kuma Inn can be found on the second floor of a lower east side tenement - you might walk into the empty dive bar below and wonder (with surprise) if you'd arrived. But be sure to walk up the windy little staircase.

Chef King Phojanakong, a native New Yorker who spent his summer in the Philippines, was inspired to create dishes that reflected his mother’s authentic and appetizing cooking. After graduating from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America he trained under Daniel Boulid at Restaurant Daniel and David Bouley and Bouley Bakery, in addition to having worked at Jean-Georges, The Grocery, and Cendrillon.

Chef Phojanakong’s menu fuses from Filipino classics mixed with Thai influences (from his father) which combine in flavorsome dishes like the Chinese sausage with Thai chili sauce and Pan roasted ocean scallops with bacon, kalamansi and saki.

Favorite dishes include:

Yellowfin tuna tartare with a rice noodle crisp

Drunken spicy shrimp finished with sake, kalamansi and thai chilies

Rice crepes, steamed and pan-fried topped with kuma bolognese

The ambience is cosy and unpretentious, and the service is excellent. Most importantly - it's BYOB, promising an extremely affordable evening (if you've ever tried to find a good BYOB in the city, you'll know how hard it is to find a good one). Wine and beer can be kept in one of the numerous surrounding refrigerators.

Reservations are recommended.