Lars Klove for The New York Times
Photo by Lars Klove for The New York Times

Gothamist was somewhat dismayed when we saw Kuma Inn in today's $25 and Under NYT column, as it has long been one of our just-under-the-radar favorites. Sure, we let our close friends know about it, but now we're worried that the publicity will make it much harder to stop by for the Chinese sausage with sticy rice, caramelized onions, and fiery hot sauce (in the picture above) -- a perfect combination of sweet, salty, and spicy. The word had to get out eventually. The small plates, which are very affordable, make it an ideal spot to bring a small group of friends who are into sharing and tasting several different dishes, and the combinations of flavors are diverse, thanks to the background of King Phojanakong, Kuma Inn's chef.

His Asian tapas menu is a whimsy, but it is what you might expect from a New Yorker born to a Filipino mother and Thai father, who went to culinary school and trained at gastro-shrines like Danube, Daniel and Jean Georges. Mr. Phojanakong's kitchen inspiration comes from his mother's side of the family, so he mines the larders of Spain, China, Southeast Asia and Japan, all of which have historically seasoned food from the Philippines.

Gothamist visited Kuma Inn back in February without a reservation, but you may want to make a reservation on the weekends, especially now that the word is out.

Kuma Inn, 113 Ludlow Street (Delancey Street), Lower East Side; (212) 353-8866.