Mission Chinese Food Review: Spicy Sichuan Goodness

Mission Chinese Food Review: Spicy Sichuan Goodness

Let’s play a game. You choose between receiving a Dirty Sanchez OR a circle jerk? You probably want a circle jerk, unless you’re a fucking freak. What we learned from Pistol Pete’s awesome review, is that Guy Fieri cannot take criticism. He went on the Today Show to say that Petey had an agenda. Talk about head in the sand… See, this is why following the food industry is so different from following the NBA. In professional sports, if you win, you’re a winner. Every year, there’s one winner. If you lose, you analyze what you did wrong, and the tell everyone you worked with Hakeem on your low post moves and hope it works out better next season. Fieri doesn’t take that path. He goes for the denial and standing behind his food and his team. But if you check out this story about critics facing backlash from negative reviews, you learn this… chefs, they don’t like negative reviews. I mean, no one likes negative reviews. Obviously everyone prefers praise instead of criticism but it seems like there can’t be correct criticism of a restaurant, unless you get the anticipated number of stars you were looking for. So if you expected 1 star from the NYTimes and you get 1 star even though the review said some of the entrees were uneven, you’d live with that. At the end of the day though, most restaurants aren’t depending on NYTimes Dining review to determine its success or failure.

And you know why the review really doesn’t matter? The truth is… the majority of the population does a fairly decent job of figuring out where to go out and eat. This is as much true in medium sized American cities as it is here in New York City. The majority of Americans also go to the same restaurants over and over again. For example, Steph and I went to this restaurant with Hungry in Milwaukee and his adorbs wife and baby a couple of months ago. Shit be called Mission Chinese Food. Not exactly a random kinda place. I think everyone who follows food news knew about their opening here in New York in the Lower East Side. Much of the reviews were positive and many of the clientele is hipster. It’s clearly food with Asian/Chinese influences, but it’s not food that I’m particular sure that my parents would enjoy, nor does it even matter. Would they like mapo tofu at Mission Chinese? Yes. Would they care for Kung Pao Pastrami? I’m not so sure. The matching between restaurants and clientele happens so seamlessly in real life that there really isn’t a need for a bridging application. That bridging application could be good press, a PR firm, or stars on Yelp (but let’s face it, most of us use Yelp just for the address, I can’t believe some sucker is going to buy that company). But if ever there’s a dissonance between diners and restaurants the diners might enjoy… that ‘miss’ is only felt by the restaurant. Even if my parents would enjoy a place like Mission Chinese Food on the Lower East Side, the fact that they live 900 miles away from the restaurant means they’ll never miss it! ha!

But as I was saying, we ate this with the professional eating team of Jonathan and Family. This is the reason you see more plates than usual for a food post. Usually I just be like, “Gimme one dish, I’mma write some shit.” Just like the time when I wrote a post about mapo tofu. But for this second post on Mission Chinese Food, I even forgot to crop one of the pictures for the Mouthwatering Chicken dish, and still got all these pictures left.

I suppose the food at Mission Chinese would be characterized as Chinese and inspired by the region of Sichuan or Szechuan. That doesn’t mean everything on the menu is prepared authentically but not that it really matters. All of it is fairly good. It doesn’t need to carry the authentic stamp for the kind of crowd that would attract.

We sampled the Chongqing Chicken Wings which looked way more intimidating than it actually was. All the red peppers was like Monet, up close it ain’t the same. It’s basically fried chicken wings done really well, but not that spicy actually. The Dan Dan Noodles were nice since there was vegetable in there, which for me is a novelty. Maybe I’ve just been eating the wrong Dan Dan Meins. There was also tofu that was a nice light appetizer type of thing.

This dish was called “Married couples beef.” I guess that’s one of those things hipster places likes to do. You know, have names that kind of make you think. Goes to show that restaurants like to toy with your mind sometimes. This works in high price restaurants with dishes like ‘oysters and pearls‘ but I guess also at ultra affordable places like Mission Chinese Food.

The stir fried pork jowl with radishes was interesting too. It’s just one of those combinations I never tried before, but that’s probably because radishes rarely make an entry into my mouth. On the other hand, I simply don’t know where to go for pork jowl usually. I’m either on on this dish, it’s not memorable but you would go with it if it came along.

The thrice cooked bacon was probably the second best dish of the day that day. As you can see, there was a lot of food. Jonathan and Fam know how to do damage to a menu. The best part of the thrice cooked bacon dish was that it came with rice cakes and dried tofu skins in there. Mmmm… rice cakes.

Kung pao pastrami was as advertised. It’s going to be one of those dishes that they can never take off the menu. Mission Chinese Food seems to change up the menu slightly every now and then. I don’t know how they’ll be able to ever stop making that dish though. It’s addictive and makes you wanna throw rice into your mouth by the bucket.

Obviously this took place a while ago so we couldn’t take up Frank Bruni’s advise on salt cod fried rice. It’s easy to see what’s to like about Mission Chinese Food. The food is fun and innovative, and the flavors are familiar and vibrant. It’s a place you would want to bring your out-of-town friends if not for the crazy crowds that mob the place.

Mission Chinese Food171 E Broadway.New York, NY 10002212-432-0300