Kokum is a quaint restaurant in Manhattan that serves authentic coastal Indian cuisine. They do an amazing job preparing authentic dishes from the Konkan coast of India, this kind of a restaurant is not found anywhere else in USA, in my experience.
Kokum is a small restaurant with limited seating. You can easily miss this unique place among the busy Indian restaurants in the strip on Lexington Avenue.
My friends and I reached there on a Sunday morning right when the restaurant had opened; we were the first ones to arrive. I will say, the air conditioning was not turned on and the place seemed stuffy.
The service here is slow and it takes a great amount of time for dishes to come out of kitchen for your meal. We ordered Filter Coffee to begin with and then a simple Dry Pan Fried Fish. The starter took about 15 minutes to arrive. It was tasty, perfectly spiced and lightly salted.
For the main course (which took 35 minutes to arrive), we ordered Appams, Kerala Paratha, Kori Ghassi (Chicken Coconut Curry), Soft-Shelled Crab Roast, and a dry Jackfruit dish. Everything was as authentic as it could get. I must say that when we decided to go to this place, my only fear was that this restaurant would be one of those Indian restaurants that will serve me greasy, creamy, and heavy Indian food which would be as always, below average.
The appams (fermeted rice breads) were lightly sweet due to coconut water and perfect. Freshly made appams were perfect to dip into piping hot curries. The soft-shelled crab roast was delicious, although the crab could have been a bit softer. Coconut Chicken Curry was perfect and the jackfruit dish was a nice dry combination along with the curry dishes.
I was surprised by the quality of the food at this restaurant. Preparing Indian cuisine from the coast of India is a special task, which requires fresh coconut and coconut milk derived from fresh coconut, and that adds the authentic taste to this dish. This tiny little restaurant in Manhattan recreates the same magic from the coast of India and hats off to them for doing this.
This restaurant is my favorite Indian restaurant in the US for Coastal Indian cuisine. People are friendly, price is average, the only thing they need to work on is bringing dishes from the kitchen to our tables, without compromising the quality and taste of the food.
Thank you Kokum!