Kasih: Hand It To Kasih; Revisiting One of DTLA’s Most Exciting Restaurants
One of the joys of being a Downtowner is getting introduced to the unique and wonderful restaurants that live in this neighborhood. Kasih was featured in the May 2018 issue, and while we were eager to taste this new Indonesian restaurant on the edge of Little Tokyo, we had no idea what to expect and could only approach the restaurant with a full heart and an empty stomach.
The restaurant turned out to be sublime. Indonesian food is delightful, and it was easy to see how proud of their cuisine the restaurant was. During our evening of dining and photographing, the chef, the owners and the bartenders kept stopping by to check in on us to discuss various highlights and nuances of the cuisine.
It wasn’t hard for them to sell us on the food: we were already stunned by the flavors and charmed by the vibe and overall feel of the space. All of it was fantastic.
A year later Kasih invited The Downtowner back. In the year they’ve been open they’ve been refining their menu. It’s no secret that the restaurant business is tough, and Kasih has worked hard to remain relevant and innovative.
Executive Chef Zachary Hamel spent a considerable amount of time in Southeast Asia as a child, as well as training at Le Cordon Bleu Bangkok. He has worked in kitchens in New York, Sydney and Los Angeles, and after getting hired at Kasih he went to Indonesia to get extensive training in the nuances of Indonesian cuisine.
Starting in January, Kasih began serving a nasi tumpeng feast, a traditional Indonesian celebratory meal where a table is covered with banana leaves and then topped with yellow turmeric coconut rice. On top of the rice a variety of meats and vegetables are placed. Kasih finishes the table by placing their wonderful sambal tasting spread on edge of the rice, and each diner gets a fresh coconut to drink out of.
“This is a hands-on feast,” explains Chef Hamel. “It’s usually reserved for a big event like a wedding. We wanted to do something different and something exciting and fun. We wanted our customers to get their hands on it and see what the experience is like.”
The experience is happily overwhelming in its scope and ambition. They recommend it for a party of four at the minimum, and after the meal was set it’s easy to see why: it takes up an entire table!
Revisiting Kasih was a reminder of the flavors and innovations coming out of one of DTLA’s most exciting kitchens. The feast is truly special, and one that is best experienced with a table full of your loved ones. The sense of eating with your hands, scooping up a handful of sticky rice, putting a delicious protein on top of it, and filling your mouth with the spicy, sweet, savory and exotic flavors of an Indonesian meal are well worth seeking out.
Written by Abel Horwitz | Photography by Rebekah Lemire