Lower East Side, NYC

Half the fun of discovering a new restaurant is sharing it with people you know will enjoy it. As Rachael Ray’s resident restaurant guru, here’s an inside look at what I report back to Rach about some of my favorite restaurant finds and food experiences!

From: Kappy

To: RR

Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2013 10:03am

Subject: LES, NYC

Hey RR –

I know that you have been here many, many, many times before (based on my recommendation, thank you very much), but I thought, why not share it with the peeps who come to your site? As you know, Yunnan Kitchen is a newish Chinese restaurant on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and it’s awesome! When I went this most recent time, I sat at the bar with Katy and Lauren and went to town with the menu. I’ll start with the show stopper: the Mala Chicken. This is fried chicken, dusted with a Szechuan peppercorn blend and served as-is. The Szechuan peppercorn gives a slight tingle to your mouth and lips and a dose of spice as well. We then ordered a charred eggplant with crushed peanuts and chilies and the Chicken and Pork Fried Rice – oh yes, and the rice cakes too – I love their rice cakes! There was a mushroom and celery dish made with wood ear mushrooms that was super simple, but soooo good. We also were very happy that we tried the lamb meatballs and the chrysanthemum salad with sesame, which was totally different, but very clean and green, if you know what I mean. To end on another show stopper, I’ll conclude with the Tofu Ribbon Salad with mint, cilantro, and chilies (pictured above). Picture ribbons of tofu that look identical to pappardelle pasta. It was spicy (perfect) and beyond delicious! Don’t let Yunnan drop out of your restaurant rotation!

Now, I’ve got to be honest… I haven’t been to Fatta Cucko for a full meal, but I did go after a meal for cocktail on my last visit to New York and it was such a cool place! It’s super small, maybe 25-30 seats, if that, and it’s owned by a husband and wife team. One of them is an artist/painter and one is a set designer, so they basically designed and built the place themselves. They have a fairly new chef in the kitchen and the food coming out looked amazing. I need to go back for a proper meal. But their funky cocktails did the trick for me this time.

And that’s what’s on my plate!

~ Kappy

Yunnan Kitchen

79 Clinton Street

New York, NY 10002

(212) 253-2527

Fatta Cuckoo

63 Clinton Street

Manhattan, NY 10002

(212) 353-0570

Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan loves food. A professionally trained chef, by day he runs Yum-o!, Rachael Ray’s charity focused on kids and cooking, and keeps special projects running smoothly for her. By night he hops course to course, place to place, all across the country. He’s Rach’s own personal dining guide! You can also follow Kappy on Twitter to see what’s On Kappy’s Plate in real-time!

What's Fresh from @RachaelRay

Rachael Ray