Introduce Yourself To Yunnan Food With The Buns At Lotus Blue

There are two new restaurants in the city serving food from the Yunnan region of China, and one of them happens to be in Tribeca. Lotus Blue opened on Reade St. (at W. Broadway) to little fanfare and I initially dismissed it because there wasn’t anything on the dinner menu for $10 or less. When I looked at the lunch menu, though, I was happy to see three items within our cheap budget including a smoked tofu with rice dish and two different kinds of buns. The latter sounded the most intriguing and I think you’ll want to check these out if you work nearby.

Your choices for the $9 buns are “pu-er tea flavor potted beef shank” or pork meatball. They come two to an order with pickled Yunnan vegetables and matchstick potatoes on the side. Since the beef shank marinated in tea and “spices” sounded like something I’ve never eaten before, that’s what I ordered.

I was expecting something along the lines of the pork belly steamed buns that you find in many Chinese places around the city, but these weren’t like that at all. The buns themselves reminded me of browned, yeasty cinnamon roll dough minus the sweet frosting. The beef was both a tiny bit sweet and a lot salty and the sauce from it had seeped into the bottom bun and kept the sandwich from being dry. This was good because the only other ingredient in the buns was some cilantro that did a good job of balancing the salt and fat from the beef. I could eat one of these sandwiches every day. Each was about the size of a fast food hamburger, so they were filling.

The pickled veg was interesting. It was like a little salad with a lot of vinaigrette on it and some pickled radish thrown in, so you may or may not like it. The peppery matchstick potatoes were neither good nor bad, but I did enjoy the ones that were soaked with meat juices.

If you don’t have time for a sit-down lunch, I can tell you that I ordered this and it was ready 10 minutes later when I arrived to pick it up. It’s a nice change of pace from that sandwich from Pret and you don’t even have to go to Chinatown to get it.

Lotus Blue, 110 Reade St. (at W. Broadway), (212) 267-3777


Leave a Reply

You must log in or register to post a comment.