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Yunnan BBQ

Restaurants, Chinese Lower East Side
1 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
1/4
Paul WagtouiczYunnan BBQ
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
2/4
Paul WagtouiczYunnan BBQ
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
3/4
Paul WagtouiczPork ribs at Yunnan BBQ
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
4/4
Paul WagtouiczDuck egg fried rice at Yunnan BBQ

Time Out says

1 out of 5 stars

In 2012, Erika Chou sought to introduce New Yorkers—already well versed in the peppercorn sting of Szechuan and the sour-and-smoke interplay of Hunan—to the multipersonality rain-forest cooking of China’s southwesterly region with Yunnan Kitchen. But the restaurant’s market-driven, seemingly Chinese-by-way-of-California small plates did little to grip diners looking for a novel taste of an unfamiliar cuisine.

So Chou and chef Doron Wong did what many struggling teams have done to keep restaurants afloat: switched concepts, swapping out Kitchen for BBQ and small plates for large-format spreads. The problem is, save for a few red lanterns and overpriced-yet-underwhelming meats, not a whole lot has changed at Yunnan.

Those small plates are carried over, packed with fresh greens and herbs: fibrous stir-fried mushrooms with curls of salt-cured ham ($15), peppery chrysanthemum leaves with Asian pears and lily bulbs ($12), and wok-charred brussels sprouts tossed with crushed soybeans and flickering chilies ($12).

But, oddly, so are many of Yunnan Kitchen’s main courses, with minimal effort made to tailor them to the BBQ reboot. Cold slices of tepid tea-smoked Long Island duck (half order $22, full order $41), a former starter, are repurposed with cucumber slivers and hoisin sauce and wrapped Peking-style in eggy crêpes. The old menu’s shao kao section, a selection of grilled skewers, is neutered into a pupu platter of pasty lamb meatballs, shell-on prawns and shoddily rendered pork belly (half order $23, full order $45). The best of the barbecued bunch is a rack of chao shao pork ribs ($29), glazed in a floral chili honey, but at six ribs to an order, it’s too slight a dish to carry that price tag.

Exclamation points punctuate the new menu—“Rice & Noodle Time!”, “The Main Attraction!”—but unfortunately, the excitement doesn’t translate from page to plate.

By: Christina Izzo

Posted:

Details

Address: 79 Clinton St
New York
10002
Cross street: between Rivington and Delancey Sts
Transport: Subway: F to Delancey St
Price: Average main course: $24.
Contact:
Opening hours: Mon, Tue-Sat 5-11pm; Sun 5-10pm
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Users say (3)

4 out of 5 stars