Restaurant Review: Kasih Has Bold Indonesian Flavors With a High-Gloss Finish

The new Little Tokyo mark is portion adult babi guling with a side of informative context

May 22, 2018

Chefs and Restaurateurs, Dining, Food


Housed in a dilemma section of a oppulance unit complex, Kasih competence be a final place you’d design to find babi guling. The dish, a specialty of Indonesia’s southern islands, is customarily a centerpiece during large feasts: whole suckling pig pressed with lemongrass and turmeric, trussed up, and delayed baked over coals until a crackling skin turns a tone of caramel. Suzanne Goin once served a chronicle during A.O.C. years ago, desirous by a outing to Bali, yet it’s frequency avocado toast around these parts.

In a hands of Kasih cook Zachary Hamel, who grew adult shuttling between Thailand and Wisconsin, babi guling gets reimagined as a rugged porchetta, burnished with garlic and chili pulp and bloody in a oven until a skin puffs out like a porky Afro. Served with immature papaya salad, it’s tender in a approach that requires no informative preliminary or geographic explainer, yet a menu cheerfully offers one.

A post common by Kasih LA (@kasih_la) on May 1, 2018 during 3:32pm PDT

If Kasih seems a small too unrelenting on culinary context, there’s a reason; a grill is corroborated by Wonderful Indonesia, a Bali-based tourism board, that is clearly fervent to lift recognition and maybe lend contemporary cold to a archipelago’s native cooking. Hamel, before a sous-chef during WeHo’s hip Thai-Fijian mark E.P. + L.P., is befitting for a task; he spent 4 months training with cook Vindex Tengker, a decider on Top Chef Indonesia, to arrange a menu styled to compare Kasih’s sleek, dim timber and floating lanterns.

Though gorgeously plated, staples like nasi goreng (fried rice) and gado-gado (salad with peanut sauce) don’t slap with delicious despondency as they do during Indo canteens like Simpang Asia and Sate House.

A post common by Kasih LA (@kasih_la) on Mar 30, 2018 during 4:07pm PDT

But Hamel is intelligent in his use of spice. Paired with ethereal shrimp crackers, a colorful sampler of sambals—a half-dozen chili pastes duped out with things like pineapple and roasted tomato—becomes a delicious spin on chips and dip. Santa Barbara lingcod, bathed in red curry pulp and grilled in banana leaves, is as deeply perfumed as it is withering (Tip: The out-of-date with banana-infused scotch creates for a good salve).

The strongest dishes during Kasih are those in that Hamel lends celebrity to a traditional. Crisp squares of fish skin yield a sea anchor for limp ceviche brightened with orange oil; strips of boiled tempeh glassy in honeyed soy turn stuffing for lettuce cups. It’s not food you’ll see in a transport brochure, yet that’s substantially a intention.

Kasih, 200 S. Los Angeles St., Little Tokyo.

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This essay creatively seemed in a June 2018 issue.

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