Rule of thumb still stands. Want solid Indian in the city of New York, just visit any of Shiva’s establishments. That’s Shiva Natarajan if you scoring at home, or if you’re alone. Adding Kokum to the Arsenal that includes Chote Nawab and Malai Marke. Kokum, named after a fruit used as a spice in South India cooking represents the cuisine of Kerala among other South Indian regions. A refreshing addition to North Indian heavy (read Heavy as in rich) NYC.
When you first walk inside Kokum, it feels like second hour of lights fixture shopping time with the wife in Chinatown. You start feeling dehydrated, dizzy while hallucinations and impure thoughts about Indian and Chinese food start kicking in. If this is what Shiva went through to get funky lights fixtures, than I feel for you brother. Women Schwomen you know what I’m saying!
Kokum’s menu requires a stint at Ye(Shiva) University, before arrival. Its not only large, but it will make your head spin. There must have been 30 items at least that I wanted to try including some familiar items from Shiva’s other establishments. As a result, flavors were a little more familiar than I was expecting but in a very very good way.
Tropical Kerala – Perhaps the first ever cocktail at an Indian establishment I really liked. Get this.
Kumily Chicken Fry – Well done. Good depth and not too dry. Similar to Chili Chicken at Malai Marke and perhaps your neighborhood Szechuan
Mysore Masala Dosa – You gotta get a Dosa crepe here. This one was stuffed with spiced potatoes and onions. Terrific accompanied chutneys ranged from mild to hot. This thing is huge
Red Pumpkin Thoran – Good, nicely balanced, but should have ordered the bindi (okra) we enjoyed so much in Shivas other establishments
Kori Gassi – We liked this a lot at Chote Nawab so had to get it again.
Chettinad Kulambu – I’ve been on a Chettinad high lately as my go to lunch choice. This is probably the best Chettinad I’ve had
No Naan here. Got some spongy Appam rice crepes, like Sri Lankan Hoppers. Appalam, lentil pancakes I would skip. Great Paripu Podi Rice