Kuma’s Asian Bistro

We all have that one family member. The one who’s middle-aged or beyond. Typically female, she is the odd ball of the family. And she’s hideous. But she’s the last person to think so. The makeup lathered on thick, the dress not appropriate for her size or age. A few brace family members have tried to drop hints but they fall on deaf ears.

Well, that’s how I feel about Kuma’s at this point. I asked a few of my reputable sources if the choice was a good one and they all said yes. So I went.

At first arrival the restaurant itself looked great and so did the menu. Not too large. Not too small. I thought that any choice I made was going to be a homerun. I was recommended the paella. I’ve seen paella on tv so my interest was piqued and on the menu it sounded great. But the price was out of my league for that evening. The chicken and sausage paella was $16. So I reconsidered my options.

I thought about some of their Asian dishes such as the Bulgogi (Korean BBQ). I also thought about the teryiaki bowl and the dish I can’t remember the name nor could I barely pronounce. These things were right around $11-12 which was manageable. I ended up choosing the teryiaki bowl with beef and chicken. It seemed like the sure thing. Fried rice, meat, and a variety of vegetables.

We also went for the egg rolls as we normally do. And those came. And that was the first glance at the crazy family member from across the room. They seemed to be homemade. Not the best I’ve ever had, nor were they as good as Bamboo’s. But they were completley passable.  So I was set.

Surely if the appetizer was good, the entree has to be as well…

My teriyaki bowl came. And I approached the family member closer. Everything appeared good. Healthy portions, lots of meat, plate presentable, fresh carrot garnish. Again, what could be wrong?

Well, shortly after digging in, I got the close-up look. The chicken was cheap (probably frozen) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, way overcooked, dry and approaching tough. The  fried rice, which I paid more for and worse yet, was surely frozen. The peas tiny and withered, the carrots diced too fine and perfectly for homemade. The rice tasted frozen, not fresh. It didn’t have the truly fresh fried rice taste (JMK is a good example of this flavor I long for in fried rice). So the hiddeous family member was revealed.

Not everything on the menu is fresh and homemade. I ended up paying $12 for a glorified bag of frozen skillet stir-fry from WalMart. I very commonly critique restaurants for their large menu. It simply doesn’t make sense to have a menu that you cannot completely make everything from scratch. In making your menu large, you cannot control quality across the board. It’s impossible and too expensive. Therefore, if a customer orders these items, they’re getting crap, your true expertise not showcased.

Would I go back again to give it a second chance? Maybe. But it’s not on my first recommendation at all. I’m giving this place a B only because of the atmosphere and the appetizer. I’ll reconsider a higher grade if I return, however, their menu will have to be tightened up for that to happen. I simply cannot recommend a restaurant an A if there are items on the menu that aren’t worthy of a higher rating.

And thus, we have the ugly family member. Looks great from far away until you get to know her and no one else is willing to admit her flaws.

This is a poor quality picture, but it gets a reasonable point across:

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