Last night I went to Kuma Inn with Lia and Kathryn after prolonged IM-ing with Lia as to where we should eat. Lia wanted meat and salt, while I just wanted something that wasn't too far away because I'M SO LAZY, OOH CAN YOU FEEL MY LAZINESS? I'm glad I didn't choose because even though I've heard of Kuma Inn, for some reason I hadn't put it on my "list of places to eat".
Kuma Inn is a cozy little Asian tapas restaurant in the Lower East Side hidden on the second floor of a building, although it does have a chalkboard outside to inform people that yes, there's a restaurant up there. I walked past it all the way down the block since I hadn't noticed it at first. Lia called about a reservation and was told 10 PM was the earliest. Pssht, we'd have none of that (besides, our stomachs were ready to do some food-churning). We walked in around 8:30 PM and got a small table probably better fit for two people (as you can see from the photo), closest to the entrance. It was noisy inside, most notably with random outbursts from one probably drunken table. ;) The wall was decorated with long cross sectioned bamboo stalks whose cavities were covered with plastic windows to show the various ingredients that filled them. That probably doesn't make much sense but if you saw it, you'd know what I meant.
So...food time! I don't know the names of all the dishes (besides the ones I can find online) but here's generally what we ordered:
- seaweed salad
- whole red snapper with a sweet chili sauce
- edamame with Thai-basil lime oil
- pan roasted ocean scallops w/ bacon, kalamansi, & sake
- pork rib ...things
- garlic rice
- tuna tare tare with cucumber
- Chinese sausage with caramelized onions and sticky rice
Lia definitely wanted something with pig. Kathryn had her mind totally set on the Chinese sausage. me?...I didn't have much preference as long as it wasn't shellfish.
I got the special, which was a whole red snapper atop snow peas, accompanied by a sweet chili sauce that reminded me of this Thai stuff I used to buy from Whole Foods and put on everything because IT TASTES SO GOOD. I like crispy things and this fish...was super-crispy. Mmmm. I wish there had been more meat, but it was still good. Not like I have any idea how to make fish that way. I totally ripped up a fish once while trying to sautee it.
I think my favorite dishes were the edamame and the Chinese sausages, not that I was IN love with them (I think I only fall in love with desserts) but if you go to the restaurant, you should get those. Lime makes a big difference; PUT IT ON EVERYTHING! MRAAH! I also loved the onions that came with the sausages. If you've never had Chinese sausages before, I'd recommend trying some ...now. You can tell how incredibly unhealthy they are from the sweet, fatty taste. I rarely eat it (my most vivid memory of it was when my mum, brother and I stayed at my mum's dad's house in Taiwan in 1992 and we ate some for breakfast) but if I had to pick a favorite kind of sausauge, that'd be it.
All the food was great. I didn't try the scallops, but I'm sure those were good. The pork ribs (which were cut into tiny bite-sized pieces) were tender and...well, porky. (I'd never be a restaurant reviewer, if you haven't noticed yet.) I'm not a big raw fish fan so I'll just say that the tuna tare tare was good, in that it tasted like raw tuna. Garlic rice was delicious, and you can't go wrong with seaweed salad. Our waiters were nice and attentive, making sure to take away dishes as we finished them or else we'd have some major table-crowding issues.
Besides that the food was great, the company was too. I've never eaten with just Lia and Kathryn before but it'll happen again, as long as my stomach can digest things. If it were up to me, it'd happen every week. :) Eating with people who really enjoy eating and trying new things is so much more meaningful than just eating with a friend who wants sustenance. That would be like going to a concert with a friend who isn't that interested in the artist you're seeing but going just because...she's bored or something. ...actually, it's not really like that but some kind of comparison that I can't think up of right now can be made.
I weighed myself this morning and I only weigh a pound more than maybe a week ago; not bad! No need for a freak-out at least. I also ate a bar of Valrhona chocolate to remind me that it's one of the best chocolates and seriously, what's the point of eating other ones when they usually don't taste as good?
...okay, I should stop eating so much chocolate.
Did I totally forget about the desserts from Kuma Inn? Lordy. DON'T I LIVE FOR DESSERTS? (Or die?...I don't think you can live on desserts for very long.)
While the waitress was telling us the dessert specials, Lia proclaimed that I'd be having the chocolate ice cream as I sat there all empty-brained like. Not like I'd complain, it was just funny and caught me off guard. "Someone is telling ME what to eat? I GASP AT THE THOUGHT! [gasp]" Because people usually tell me what not to eat. "No, Robyn, don't eat...the entire pie." The ice cream was smooth and while rolling it around in your mouth initially made you think, "Mm, chocolate!" And then came the burning in the back of your throat. "Mm, burning!" By no means is it excessive. It's just enough for an interesting sensation...of burning.
Kathryn got the coconut ice cream. I liked it more than my chocolate ice cream, although it was different so you can't really compare the two. Actually, as much as I love chocolate, I've never been a big fan of chocolate ice cream. I know I'm not the only person who feels this way. Chocolate chunks in ice cream works out fine but chocolate flavored ice cream doesn't seem tow ork as well, at least in my experience. But my chocolate ice cream was very good for ...chocolate ice cream. Coconut ice cream is always good though.
Lia got thsi tart made of a Philipino fruit whose name I forgot. Her first reaction was that it was very tart. And...it was, although I wouldn't say it's more tart than a lemon square, which is the only other very tart pastry I can think of having eaten in the past few years. Not that it tastes like lemon, it's just tart. And yellow. The filling was more like pudding than gelatinous, meaning it oozed everywhere when the crust was broken. Still good though. GOOO PUDDING!