I am trying very hard not to sound like one of those Sonic Drive Inn commercials: SUPER VALUE FLAVOR EXPLOSION! SPICY, SWEET, MELTY GOODNESS! But my inner dialogue about Kuma Inn sounds embarrassingly similar to them.
Asian Fusion has been done everywhere from here to Kalamazoo. So what does Kuma Inn do differently? Pretty much everything. Every familiar element of their menu is given a unique spin with their inventive and explosive sauces, marinades and condiments. Typically presented, steamed edamame comes drizzled with an invisible, yet addictive thai basil-lime oil. It has forever changed how I want my edamame: lime wedges have permanently replaced kosher salt. And my blood pressure thanks Kuma for it.
Chinese sausage is caramelized and sweet, almost like the breakfast sausage that went for a swim in your pancake's syrup. And to my delight - served with a similiar thai lime/basil concoction, and thankfully a generous helping of sticky rice to unabashedly mop up the remains. A yellowfin tuna tartare is bright and citrusy and its served with a cheesy, crispy rice noodle 'chip' that should be immediately mass produced and sold at the front door.
And speaking of the entry way, it can be found at the top of a sketchy staircase...on the second floor...in a dirty building...in the Lower East Side. Their decor is not worth mentioning, but their BYOB policy is, and it helps to keep the whining to a minimum during your hour long wait for a table.
Because its not just good. Its Sonic good.
113 Ludlow Street, 2nd floor
New York, NY