If you are a minimum foodie, you have probably heard about Mission Chinese Food. Famous Chinese restaurant from San Francisco, the story of that place is actually pretty cool. Danny Bowien started his adventure a couple of years ago when the restaurant was only a pop-up place in an existing Chinese restaurant in the Mission District, SF. Since then he had a wild success, opened another restaurant a couple of months ago in the Lower East Side, NYC, was national acclaimed and won yesterday the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef.
Located in the basement on Orchard St, NYC, you must know the exact address or you risk passing it without seeing it. Once your name is called, pass the entrance and the long sketchy hall, you will find out a trendy Chinese looking restaurant. The music is loud, packed with Millennials only; you can choose small or large cheap dishes. But be careful this is not the regular Chinese food you will find here. No sesame chicken or dim sum here. You have to think out of the box, which I could not.
To be honest, I hesitated before writing this review. With 500+ reviews on Yelp and an article dedicated to this restaurant in every major newspaper and food blog, I got totally disappointed and questioning about what I ate. And it is killing me when I do not make the right choice with a restaurant.
Out of the three dishes I tried, the cucumber appetizer was just chopped cucumber with an extremely hot sauce that anesthetizes your palate. But the worst comes. The Szechuan lamb served with bones was just a piece of fat with a strong smell of meat. Do not even think it could taste like the cumin lamb from Xi’an Famous Food. The broccoli beef brisket with smoked oyster sauce could have been satisfactory if there had not been this huge piece of fat meat in the middle of the dish. The only good part of the whole diner experience was the broccoli rave cooked in the sauce of the beef. But only served with white rice. A lot of white rice.
I must have chosen the wrong dishes, but two awful dishes out of the menu is way too much to give another shot. I could not face the taste another time.
If you still want to try and understand the buzz, go at 11pm during the week to avoid the line. And tell me about a dish you actually loved at Mission Chinese Food. I am eager to hear about that.