Thursday, May 24, 2012

Yunnan Kitchen

(photo courtesy of Grub Street)

Last night, I went to Yunnan Kitchen on 79 Clinton Street (corner Rivington Street) with a group of friends and tried almost everything on the menu.

I don't really know what Yunnan food is supposed to taste like but the food was very fresh, delicious and expertly prepared with lots assertive flavors and unexpected seasonings. The dishes seemed more authentically "asian" than Lotus Blue, the other Yunnan place in Tribeca, while being in step with the modern sensibilities of Momofuku Ssam Bar and Wong.

I particularly loved:

King Trumpet Mushrooms - sawtooth herb, ham
Fried Potato Balls - Yunnan spices, soy-vinegar
Tofu Ribbon Salad - mint, cilantro, chilies
Shredded Chicken - tamarind, crispy taro
Charred Eggplant - sawtooth herb, crushed peanuts, chilies
Ham Rice Cakes - chilies
Scallion fried rice - egg
Grilled skewers (shao kao, particularly the crispy chicken and ground lamb).

For a full meal I'd recommend three or four small plates per person. The service was great and the room had a nice open feel with big windows.

The restaurant takes reservations for parties of six or more (closed Tuesdays) though smaller groups were seated without much of a wait. For something delectable and out of the ordinary, Yunnan Kitchen is definitely worth a trip to the lower east side. I plan to return soon.


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