Sometimes, you just need to get away. And when a tropical paradise seems out of reach, we often find ourselves searching for the next-best proxy. For New York City residents looking for a more temporary escape, Williamsburg’s Kokomo is a worthwhile consideration — at least when cravings call for sweeter drinks and bolder, spicier dishes.
Let’s get right to the cocktails, though the establishment’s layout and vibe are more geared to dinner and drinks as opposed to just the latter. Beverage Director Rael Petit’s menu centers around fresh juice, and they certainly deliver.
The Pain Killer takes a base of coconut cream and punches things up with both orange pineapple juices, but a heavy nutmeg finish actually cuts what might otherwise be overwhelming sweetness. The Tiki Aperol Spritz is much tarter than you’d expect and carries well through an entire appetizer course. The Good Vibez — topped with a custom “street art” display of Angostura Bitters — melds passionfruit with egg white for something that borders on dessert in a glass.
More impressive was “We Limin’,” which finishes Grey Goose, St. Germain, lime juice, and guava cordial with a heavy crack of black pepper. It’s a smart choice to start off the evening that won’t coat the palate too much at the beginning.
Overall, the cocktail menu focuses on the sweet, usually with just enough tart, sour, or smoky to balance things out. However, there are a few cocktails that will border on too sugary for some. Kokomo’s drinks menu is ideal for drinkers with a sweet tooth, but most patrons will have an enjoyable experience if they pace things a bit slower than normal throughout a meal. (The sweetness can also hide some deceptively strong drinks.)
For food, expect hearty and wholesome, but not overly rich. The crispy fish tacos had a welcomely light finish, with a great slaw to carry them through. The braised oxtail is a standout, with a complex stew that opens up more with every bite. And the rice & beans — a classic composition served with numerous dishes — are worth a re-order if you find yourself still hungry. They’re more flavorful than expected, but not as heavy as many versions you’ll find in and around NYC.
Finally, a streamlined dessert menu normally gives diners just a couple of options. Pro tip: Choose the rum raisin bread pudding. Though cocktails at Kokomo are enjoyable enough, and the dinner menu holds up to other Williamsburg destinations, the bread pudding is what will drive many return visits. It’s easily among the top three versions I’ve ever had.
Kokomo is located at 65 Kent Ave. in Brooklyn, New York. They’re open Tuesday-Thursday from 4pm-11pm and Friday-Sunday from 11am -11pm.