Way back in 2012, we told you all about the resolutely unpretentious but wildly flavoursome foodie-magnet that was Mission Chinese Food’s LES outpost helmed by rockin’ wok star Danny Bowien. Well, a James Beard award for ‘Rising Star Chef of the Year’ and a truckload of critical and popular acclaim later, the rebel is back with a new cause – his highly-anticipated Mexican offering, aptly named Mission Cantina.
Like its older Asian fusion sibling, Mission Cantina approaches its craft from a pared-back, ‘no distractions’ type standpoint, where simple but vibrant décor and a fun dancey soundtrack do just enough to hold the attention without taking any focus off the real star of the production – the food. Concise yet adventurous, the menu lists classic dishes with unique twists, like hokkaido scallop and beef heart ceviche with capers, olives and citrus, and scrambled eggs with sea urchin, jalapeno and chicharron. Intriguing tacos span lamb belly to bitter greens, and braised octopus with chicken wing to smoked potato, and the whole rotisserie chicken stuffed with rice, chorizo and pecans is nothing short of revelatory. The Cantina Michelada (here served spicy and with a bacon rim) provides perfectly harmonised accompaniment, or else there are beers, sangria and a handful of other cocktails to choose from. Believe the hype!
172 Orchard Street, LES
+1 212 254 2233
Serving lunch and dinner Tuesday to Sunday