I eat at very few Chinese restaurants in New York. There are no more than a handful of restaurants that I find up to par. Yunnan Kitchen is one of many new Chinese-inspired restaurants to pop-up in the city recently, but it is the only one to really grasp the concept of balance that exists within Chinese cuisine. Yunnan cuisine is spicy, like Sichuan cuisine, but that doesn’t mean that everything is mala (numbingly spicy), and this is where Yunnan Kitchen gets it right. For example, the tofu ribbon salad, an elegant name for tofu skin, is a cold small plate with chilies but offset with the refreshing coolness of mint and cilantro. It’s a good starter that’s light but flavorful, and the mild spice whets your appetite. Dishes like the wood ear mushrooms with celery, gingko and lily bulbs are a taste of home for me. There is real thought going into the balance and quality of these dishes, and it’s a delight and relief that I can recommend a new Chinese restaurant in the city!