Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yunnan Kitchen

Last weekend was spent in my favorite place ever: NYC (which even after a year of being in Boston, still feels like home). After a full day of shopping in Soho, we decided to head over to the Lower East Side for dinner at Yunnan Kitchen - reported to be one of the best new restaurants in Manhattan.
The restaurant is not very large (which is expected given it's location), and average wait for a table is generally an hour to an hour and a half. However, we were lucky to  have arrived early enough that our wait was less than an hour for a party of 4.

[Another advantage of the restaurant's location is the abundant happy-hour options near-by: 4 Asian girls drinking on an empty stomach = recipe for pre-dinner fun]

The restaurant's menu is designed to be tapas-style: dishes are served as "small plates" with recommendation of 3 per person to satisfy the average appetite. Since we were still relatively full from lunch (and random snacking), we opted for 9 dishes to be shared among the 4 of us:

Tofu Ribbon Salad (Steph's favorite dish of the night): The tofu was combined with mint, cilantro, and just a hint of spice with a small amount of chili.

Wood Ear Mushrooms with Gingko, Celery, and Lily Bulbs: I've never been too big a fan of wood ear mushrooms, but the light garlic sauce and celery was a perfect pairing

Scrambled Egg with Jasmine Flowers (Daniella's favorite): Something that Chinese people realized long before everyone else is the fantastic pairing that tomato makes with egg. The Jasmine flowers added a nice extra dimension, but the best part of this dish was the light and fluffy texture of the egg (unfortunately it's very easy to over-cook scrambled eggs, after which they become too firm)

Crispy Chicken (Favorite of mine and Tiff's): The chicken was very tender and not fried in the typical Southern manner. The batter was minimal, but the chicken itself remained very moist

Lamb Meatballs: The spices coating these meatballs look dangerously strong, but they weren't. The meatballs themselves were well done but not dry

Fried Green Tomatoes (this was one of the specials of the night and not on the usual menu): Like the fried chicken this dish has it's American Southern counter-part, which it bore absolutely no resemblance to. The tomatoes had been only lightly stir-fried, followed by seasoning with a mix of peppers and spices, then chilled. The result was a refreshing and light

Cold Noodles with Ground Pork, Peanuts, and Fresh Herbs: This dish was absolutely delicious. Although you can't appreciate it in the picture, the noodles had a light tangy sauce with a hint of vinegar and chili

Mushroom Rice Cakes with Fermented Chilis:

Chinese Sausage Fried Rice: The rice used in this dish was a little chewy and sticky, which was a perfect pairing with the dried Chinese sausages

Everything we tried at Yunnan Kitchen was delicious, and prices were very reasonable. The amount of food that we ordered was perfect, and we left the restaurant feeling stuffed and happy. The best part of the night though, was running into old friends in the middle of dinner: we spotted our med-school pals Jenn and Jesse walking outside as they were scouting down a good post-tennis dinner place. Several hugs and "hello's" later, they unfortunately decided to eat elsewhere, because by then the wait for a table was too long for their grumbling stomachs to tolerate

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Yunnan Kitchen
79 Clinton Street
New York, NY 10002

*Note the photographs in this post were again taken on my trusty Droid's camera, since my DSLR was not immediately available at the time*

1 comment:

  1. Jenn and I went back the next week. I think we got a bad order of cold noodles bc both of us thought it was gross =(