Kuma Inn – Asian Fusion That Actually Works, Filipino-Chinese Tapas in the Lower Eastside

Kuma Inn is a popular restaurant that is located in the Lower Eastside.  It’s Asian fusion restaurant that serves a mix of Filipino and Chinese tapas style dishes.

The restaurant is located on the 2nd floor of a building on Ludlow Street above Los Feliz.  It feels like you’re walking into someone’s apartment and I actually think that it might have been someone’s apartment at some point in time.  The room is dark, fairly minimalist in terms of decor and feels very low-key, but it is a bit loud because it’s such a small place.  The restaurant fits around 20-25 people.  It has an open kitchen that you see when you walk in.

The service was pretty good although our waiter was kind of hard to understand because she had a very thick Filipino accent, but she was very nice and attentive.

On to the food (sorry for poor quality of some the pics, it’s pretty dark in there and I couldn’t get great pics):

Steamed Edamame With Thai Basil-Lime Oil:

These were interesting, the edamame were boiled just like they would be in any normal Japanese restaurant, but they were flavored with a Thai basil-lime oil.  It was a nice combination as the lime flavor went well with edamame. 7/10

Deep–Fried Pork Belly Lechon Kawali With Atchara:

I love pork belly and I particularly love the contrast of crispy skin and tender pork. I was looking forward to trying this dish as someone else had recommended it to me.  However, it was uneven in quality as some pieces had nice crispy skin and reasonably tender meat, but other pieces were dried out and the skin was overcooked so it was sort of tough.  It is served with a soy sauce with chopped red thai chilis in it. This sauce is commonly served in Cantonese restaurants and other Southern Chinese areas like Singapore. The soy sauce with chilis is good and compliments the meat nicely, but it is quite spicy if you eat the peppers.  Overall, the experience varied heavily depending on which piece you got. (7/10 for the good pieces, 5.5/10 for the bad pieces)

Coconut Rice:

I wanted some rice on the side and the waitress recommended this.  The rice was nice and fluffy and I liked the coconut flavor was nice. Overall, it was pretty good, it reminded me a bit of Hainanese chicken rice, but it was a little heavier and not quite as fluffy. 7/10

Sautéed Chinese Sausage With Thai Chili-Lime Sauce:

This was sautéed Chinese sausage served with a Thai Chili-Lime sauce and sticky rice. The combo of the sweetness of the Chinese sausage and the spicy lime sauce was a perfect combination.  The sticky rice also compliments it very well. This was really good. 8.25/10

Fried Langoustine:

This was an off the menu special.  It was a simple breaded fried langoustine served with a sauce that was similar to a tartar sauce. The breading was nice, crispy and not oily at all.  The meat was fresh and sweet and the heads were delicious.  The tartar sauce went well with the dish. Overall, it was a nice dish. 7/10

Seared Ahi Tuna with Thai Chili Miso Vinaigrette:

The ahi was decent, but not great quality.  The sauce was alright, but I thought it was a little bland and didn’t do much for the dish.  Overall, it was alright, but I don’t think I’d order it again. 6.75/10

Tita Em’s Adobong Pal, Chicken Wings, Rice Vinegar, Garlic And Soy:

These were chicken wings in an adobo sauce, but it was different than most adobo sauce.  The wings were nice and tender and I thought the sauce tasted nice, it was savory and flavorful without being overpowering.  Overall, these were good. 7/10

Grilled Whole Dorado in Soy Sesame Oil Sauce:

This was another off the menu special.  The Dorado looked a little different than most Dorado I’ve seen, my friend asked our waitress where it was from and she said it was from Thailand.  It was cooked decently; the meat was tender and moist although I thought the skin was a bit on the mushy side, I would’ve preferred if it was a little crispier.  The meat was slightly fishy, fishier than most Dorado I’ve had which isn’t fishy at all.  I thought the sauce was okay, but a little on the bland side.  It was a decent dish, but didn’t come together as well as I thought it would have.  6.75/10

Overall, I thought it was a good meal and it’s definitely something a little bit different from the norm in Manhattan.  The Chinese sausage dish alone is totally worth coming for.  I’d recommend trying Kuma Inn out.

113 Ludlow St (between Delancey St & Rivington St), 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10002
(212) 353-8866