113 Ludlow Street, NYC
We have been wanting to try Kuma Inn for about a year, but never got the right opportunity until our foodie cousins, Jill and Bill, told us they were flying in from Columbus, Ohio and wanted to go for an interesting, off-the-beaten-path place in Manhattan. Kuma Inn is definitely out of the way in a second story location on the Lower East Side. It is easy to miss as the front is only a narrow vertical sign announcing a long stairway behind a door. But once inside, it presents a cozy, Asian-influenced interior that feels more like an apartment, than a dining room – but in a good way.
The five of us, including our cousin James, had a great time as we sampled a dozen or more tapas style dishes and discussed recipes, restaurants, street carts, celebrity chefs, and all other foodie topics. The cuisine at Kuma is a little hard to describe because it is based on Owner/Chef King Phojanakong, who has a Filipino and Thai heritage, and French training. It is mostly Asian influenced, exemplified by the delicious shrimp shumai and wasabi pork dumplings that we devoured. We also had amazing Spanish chorizo sausage, whole baby octopus, tuna tartar, noodles, edamame and several other eclectic delights. It is a really fun menu to share with a small group and the BYO policy of beer, wine and sake keeps the prices down. Spud and I will definitely return and try all of our favorite dishes again.
I highly recommend Kuma Inn for a true foodie experience. People aren’t coming here for the scene, decor, or service. There are many other places for trendy small plates, but what elevates Kuma is the food. It’s all about the food.