BiCoastal Ying and Yang of Asian Cuisine…

kuma inn
Kuma Inn

Titillating Tuesday and my taste buds are craving Asian cuisine.

Being bicoastal, I am going to provide a ying and yang of two Asian restaurants, one in NYC which emphasizes food over décor and ambiance and a Los Angeles restaurant which is housed in an edgy, hip building,  juxtaposed against the historic Helms Bakery complex.

KUMA INN

If I gave you the address for Kuma Inn, (kumain in Filipino means, to eat) you would think I was giving you the location of Don Draper’s (Mad Men) home away from home… the one he shared in his youth with the working women in his life. The climb up the steep flight of stairs in a nondescript former tenement building will, however, stimulate your appetite and put you in the mood for the taste treats ahead. The staff warmly welcomes you into the small, but cozy interior. The chef, King Phojanakong, has trained under such super chefs as Daniel Boulud, David Bouley and Jean-Georges.

All dishes are served tapas style and meant to be shared. My favorites include: crispy pork spring rolls, squid salad, grilled salmon with snap peas and mushrooms, sautéed tofu and the must have, sautéed Chinese sausage with Thai chile-lime sauce. The sausage is a staple, but initially, wasn’t even on the original menu. King used to make it for the wait staff’s meal and they loved it so much that they persuaded him to put it on the restaurant menu.  It’s been a hit ever since.

sausage
Sautéed Chinese Sausage

I also enjoy the chicken wings, Greenmarket mushrooms, Thai sticky rice and the amazing Washington State oyster omelet. King shops the Chinatown markets daily so you are guaranteed the very freshest of produce.

Kuma Inn is very reasonably priced and is cash only. Reservations are strongly suggested. It is open nightly and it is BYOB with a $5 corkage fee…this is not an issue because there is a fabulous liquor shop two short blocks away called, September Wines and Spirits, located at 100 Stanton Street/Ludlow. They specialize in limited production, earth-friendly wines from around the world and support small, family-run vineyards.  Everyone is incredibly nice and knowledgeable. I always buy a case of wine and put in the car before I begin my climb up to indulge in fabulous Filipino/Asian/Thai food.  Lower East Side, 113 Ludlow Street. Google the building…some of your immigrant relatives may have lived there!

LUKSHON

lukshon patio
Lukshon patio

A straight line across the country will find me dining at Lukshon, which features a modern take on authentic Southeast Asian cuisine. I revel in the stylish exterior patio.  I definitely have my favorites and always select the spicy chicken pops (so cute, like eating a savory lollipop), creamy,  sashimi style Hawaiian butterfish, crispy Maryland soft shell crab, Chinese black mushrooms, heirloom black rice with a farm fried egg nestled on top. My wine of choice is the reasonably priced ($36/bottle), crisp Chateau La Coste rose from Provence. The cocktails are tasty and exotic.

crab
Maryland soft shell crab
butterfish
Hawaiian Butterfish
egg3
Heirloom Black Rice

Super chef and owner, Yang Soon, is also the chef and proprietor of the enormously popular gastro pub, Father’s Office. Before opening Father’s Office, he was executive chef at Michael’s in Santa Monica, a famous dining destination for contemporary California cuisine. He has appeared as a guest judge on Top Chef and Top Chef Masters.  Next year, Yoon will partner with Sherry Yard, acclaimed as one of the best pastry chefs in America (Spago, James Beard Award winner) to revive L.A.’s Helms Bakery.

Lukshon is located in the old Helms Bakery, next door to Father’s Office. 3239 Helms Avenue, Culver City. Reservations suggested and definitely request the patio.

4 Comments

  1. As promised I am reading your blog alongside my glass of Bordeaux. Forgot to mention (during our restaurant talks tonight) Maharlika. Amazing Filipjno restaurant, on 1st ave between 6th and 7th. If you liked Kuma Inn, you will enjoy Maharlika. Real Filipino food, like Ma makes, with some Biggie Smalls playing in the background. Loved seeing you and David tonight!!!! And love your blog already!! xoxo

    • Camille, we so enjoyed our evening with you! The food and company were both superb! I am excited that my blog has received the “Quality” stamp of approval! Thanks for the recommendation…I look forward to checking it out. I hope you continue to enjoy, ifthedevilhadmenopause and I am anxious to hear if you have an addition to your family.

  2. As promised I am reading your blog alongside my glass of Bordeaux. Forgot to mention (during our restaurant talks tonight) Maharlika. Amazing Filipjno restaurant, on 1st ave between 6th and 7th. If you liked Kuma Inn, you will enjoy Maharlika. Real Filipino food, like Ma makes, with some Biggie Smalls playing in the background. Loved seeing you and David tonight!!!! And love your blog already!! xoxo

    • Camille, we so enjoyed our evening with you! The food and company were both superb! I am excited that my blog has received the “Quality” stamp of approval! Thanks for the recommendation…I look forward to checking it out. I hope you continue to enjoy, ifthedevilhadmenopause and I am anxious to hear if you have an addition to your family.

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