Lotus Position

Lotus Blue brings Yunnan to downtown

We're going to tell it to you straight: Lotus Blue does not serve unimpeachably genuine Yunnan cuisine.

Instead, it serves chef Kian Lam Kho's modern take on the food of China's most southwestern province.

Thanks to the culinary osmosis of shared borders, the food relies less on the dried spices and soy sauce of northern China, and more on the bright, herbal flavors of Southeast Asian cuisine.

Fresh herbs and greens are everywhere on the menu. A pile of fluttery chrysanthemum greens with garlic and Chinese black-vinegar dressing packs a peppery punch ($7). Fried basil and mint tangle in a potpourri of tempura-fried enoki and beech mushrooms ($9)–paying homage to Yunnan's hundreds of varieties of native mushrooms.

Grilled lemongrass baby back ribs ($11) are plastered in a dry rub, steamed, then grilled for a sticky-charred result.

The pork-, duck- and chicken-bone broth of the myth-shrouded Cross-Bridge Noodles ($18) is best with a heavy dose of house-made chile oil. It's served in a bowl the size of a tub basin; we advise using crisp-crusted Yunnan buns ($3 for two pieces) for dipping.

Feel free to debate the authenticity factor, but we're happy to merely call it delicious and keep eating.

Lotus Blue Restaurant Bar, 110 Reade St. (at W. Broadway); 212-267-3777 or lotusbluebar.com