We went to Kuma Inn recently for a birthday dinner, were able to get a table for 7 the day of on a Sunday. That said, their seemed to be a long wait for walk-ins, but it kind of surprised me that they took reservations as it seems atypical for the kind of restaurant it is.
We had a wide variety of eaters, some more conservative, one vegetarian, and all were very pleased. Bill, including tax, tip, and corkage ($1 per beer, BYO) was less than $200, not bad.
We ordered: (*Favorites)
-Wasabi Pork Shumai was what you'd expect, but very good.
-The shrimp shumai, pork spring rolls, vegetarian summer rolls were surprisingly good, considering they are something I would never order. I did not like the vegetarian dumplings.
-Edamame were soft, citrusy, very good.
-Fried langostines- a bit too greasy, not great.
*-Assorted vegetable pickles- all very good, not overbearingly salty as I usually associate with pickling. Bitter melon was standout, Japanese eggplant was freaking awesome-very crunchy.
*-Adobong PAL Chicken Wings- the wings are braised and in a awesomely delicious sauce.
*-Sauteed tofu- excellent use of a soy base, as this were not too salty and the tofu soaked up the flavors really well.
*-Chinese sausage- think of roast pork in terms of sweetness, leans towards the greasy side, but overall amazing, The chili sauce it is served with is great and very spicy.
-Arroz Valencia was unexpected on the menu, but really good. At this point I was a little too full to enjoy it as much as the others.
The garlic rice is delicious and a good deal at $3 for a huge portion. However, they brought it out late which was kind of a disappointment as we couldn't dump other stuff on top of it.
Some other things i didn't taste (drunken shrimp, tuna tartare) were well liked.
I think this restaurant, at this point probably five years old, is seriously underrated. Small, open kitchen, relatively cheap, byo, delicious food, what's not to like?
It's interesting to note how dated a couple things on the menu seem (tuna tartare, shumais, in a Thai/Filipino restaurant) but if anything they will please those who have become familiar with them over the past couple years. The rest of the menu (and there is a lot to order, plus a bunch of specials which all sounded or tasted good) is inventive, exciting, and tasty.
Sorry for the long winded post, but I can't stop thinking about that meal.
113 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002