There are dinners you plan weeks in advance, and then there are dinners that come together last-minute. On your average Tuesday, you text with a few friends, and pick somewhere central and easy to get into where you won’t have to circle the block six times to find a parking spot. Next time that happens you should head to Kasih, an Indonesian restaurant in Little Tokyo where there’s never a long wait and the food is more interesting than what you’ve had delivered the past three nights.
Kasih is at the bottom of a big apartment building and looks like the dining room of an internet company where everyone balances on bosu balls at their desks. But despite a somewhat generic look, there’s usually a lively crowd of co-workers grabbing something to eat at the bar, a second date happening in a corner, and a big group hanging out on the patio.
There’s a lot to choose from on the menu - curries, fried chicken, Indonesian slaw, and more - and your first order of business should be the sambal tasting. This big board comes with four different spicy dips, giant puffy crackers, and the most delicious bowl of nuts we’ve eaten in our lives. Next, move onto Kasih’s riffs on traditional dishes, like the chicken sate and beef rendang, and try some of the less traditional ones, like the fantastic snapper ceviche. The cocktails aren’t very good, so we tend to just bring a bottle of wine and pay the $25 corkage fee. And considering that all the food is meant to be shared and nothing costs more than $25, bring as many people as you can so that you have an excuse to order half the menu.
Turns out you don’t have to plan three weeks in advance for a delicious and interesting dinner out. You just have to end up at Kasih. Plus, the building next door will validate your parking.
This board of spicy and salty, addictive dips is the only way to start a meal at Kasih. Take the little bowl of spiced, candied nuts with kaffir lime and hide it where no one else at the table can find it.
A very close first runner-up for best dish here, this snapper ceviche is spicy and tangy, with a heap of lemongrass and crispy fish skin on top. At first bite, you’ll think, “Eh, not so spicy,” but by the end you’ll be taking big sips of water that absolutely will not help.
This spicy fried chicken comes on top of a tomato, tamarind, and coconut sauce that’s full of flavor, but doesn’t overpower anything else on the plate.
Telling you to order a lamb curry best described as funky and slightly sour might be a hard sell. But this is great, and certainly different than most curries you’ll have had before.
Instead of a big bowl of saucy curry, this rendang involves a thick coating of sauce around incredibly tender, slow-cooked beef. It’s fantastic.
It’s corn on the cob. Tasty corn on the cob with a shrimp paste butter, but still - corn on the cob.
Kasih’s takes on classic Indonesian fried rice and stir-fried noodles are total crowdpleasers, rich with thick soy sauce and sambal.