If Led Zeppelin Could Cook…
Mission Chinese Food
When the New York Times likens you to the culinary equivalent of Led Zeppelin, it certainly suggests you’re doing something right. But instead of blues-infused, envelope-pushing rock, it’s traditional Chinese cuisine that gets taken to wild, uncharted, but undeniably delicious territory by Mission Chinese Food chef Danny Bowien, a man who incidentally looks more rock than wok star with his waist-length hair and tattoos galore.
Like the San Francisco original, the new NYC outpost subscribes to a philosophy of resolute unpretentiousness, and as one descends into the pared-back, white brick and wood, 41-seat foodie mecca, it’s taken as given that every one of Bowien’s reimaginings is fair game. A selection of small starter and larger main plates reveals intriguing mash-ups like Sichuan pickles brined in beer, eggs smoked with Pu’er tea, terrine of barbeque pig ear, and sizzling cumin lamb breast with chili-pickled long beans and charred dates. The influences come from far and wide, and are not restricted to the food – take the Michelada cocktail (comprising clam juice, poblano chili and Bud light with a Sichuan pepper rim) as a baffling and shining example – but believe it or not, the most shocking part of the experience is the price, with the most expensive dish coming in at just $15. Now that’s rock ’n roll.