A chef whose family opened one of New York’s best Yunnan restaurants is striking out on his own — bringing the increasingly locally popular rice noodle mixian to a new shop in Greenwich Village called South of the Clouds.
Chef Lihen Geng’s father Side is behind Yun Nan Flavour Garden, a Sunset Park restaurant that for years was one of the sole representations of Yunnan cuisine in New York City. But more recently, the fare often represented by sour-spicy flavors and mixian have been popping up far more in the city. Deng Ji, a Chinatown restaurant that critic Robert Sietsema awarded three-stars, opened last year, as did East Village hit Little Tong Noodle Shop and Yuan Noodle.
Now, Geng is opening his own restaurant with a take on the cuisine in a “toned down,” 45-seat space opening on Friday, January 19th at 16 West 8th St. near 5th Avenue. Like the other new Yunnan restaurants, South of the Clouds will specialize in mixian, with five renditions of the dish, including a version of the “crossing the bridge noodle” that put Yun Nan Flavour Garden on the map.
Here, the chef purports to use different techniques than his father uses in Sunset Park. It still contains ingredients like thinly cut slices of chicken, beef, and pork that are placed into a chicken broth table-side, but some vegetables will change with the seasons. Other dishes include a cold stir-fried rice noodle with fermented bean paste and a tomato soup with rice noodles, pork, beef, and mint. Take a look at the full menu below. South of the Clouds will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. starting this weekend.