The Lower East Side of New York City abounds in dining adventures, Yunnan Kitchen is one that is now a favorite of ours. Enjoyed many dishes, “Dian Cuisine…a crisp and colorful fusion of flavors.” And two excellent Rhone Wines.
The Wines: Cave Des Vignerones D'estezargues, Plein Sud, Viognier/ Roussanne and Domaine des Romarins, Côtes du Rhône, Grenache/Syrah/Mouvedre $$
The Food: A southwest Chinese feast in three courses
The Place: Yunnan Kitchen, 79 Clinton, NYC
I love my friends who love to eat and Gwen and Jonathan do, they suggested this unique Chinese restaurant for dinner after a film at Landmark Sunshine Cinema on the Lower East Side.
From one interesting neighborhood, Yunnan Province, in southwest China, called by many as Shangri-La, a “lost heaven” between great and ancient kingdoms—Buddhist, Muslim, Mongol and Han; to another the Lower East Side an enclave of many cultural expressions, Yunnan Kitchen brings a wealth of ancient culinary traditions to you with exceptional contemporary New York style.
Dinner began with this appetizing Chrysanthemum Salad with lime and mountain flower oil dressing.
Then this Charred Eggplant with crushed peanuts, sawtooth mustard greens and Thai chili that hit the spot and excited our anticipation of dishes to come.
Our first wine, a white, called Plein Sud, a delightful Viognier, Roussanne blend from Cave Des Vignerones D'estezargues. It opened with a slight staleness, but within 15 minutes was elegantly present. The Viognier has lots of floral scents and flavors while the Roussanne brings weight and rich texture. It has appealing tropical fruit and white peach with a touch of anise on the palate.
Imported by Moonlight Wine Co., Cave Des Vignerones D'estezargues is Estezargues is a progressive co-op of 10 growers in the southern Rhone who have pledged to farm in an ecologically sustainable way and use minimal processes in the cellar where there is no filtering, no fining, and very little sulfur. Just as mother nature intended.
Not on the regular menu, the Tofu Ribbons Salad is a delicious dish that you should try if you see it on the specials blackboard.
Lamb Meatballs, cooked Shao Kao, a Chinese tradition of flame grilling usually found on busy Chinese street, with Yunnan Spices, typically peppercorns, Yunnan chilies and Chinese black cardamom and other spices the chef enjoys.
For our next courses we went on to the Vin Rouge, an exceptional wine from a family of wine makers in Domazan a beautiful place, just south of Chateauneuf du Pape, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France.
Xavier Fabre produces rich wholesome wines with the help of father Francis during the harvest and his mother Claire who tends to the business operations of the winery. He executes with great respect for nature on a property of 25 hectares of very old vines.
The wine has sensuous scents and tastes of red and black fruit with a spicy backbone and touches of leather.
A perfect pairing for our next two dishes which included the Braised Beef Fried Rice, beef shank, seasonal mushrooms, and house pickled mustard greens.
And an ever favorite dish, rice cakes with a brown sauce, wild mushrooms, fermented chilies and Chinese greens.
There are also great cocktails, good beers, a nice wine list and some very tempting deserts to choose from.
Great reviews in all the NY food press say try Yunnan Kitchen and we agree.
79 Clinton Street
NYC, NY 10002