On the day both the NY Times and NY Mag file their reviews of Mission Chinese, I shall write about my time there too. I've been to Mission Chinese twice actually, the cool and hip LES Chinese joint from San Francisco. The place takes Sichuan Chinese fare and puts their own spin on it, or what chef/owner Danny Bowien calls "Americanized Oriental Food". I eat Sichuan cuisine often, such stands out in NYC are Szechuan Gourmet, Grand Sichuan, and Cafe China. I really like what Mission Chinese is doing, and I love the hip atmosphere. The Lower East Side is the perfect home for Mission Chinese.
If you aren't a fan of spicy food, then you should absolutely NOT go to Mission Chinese. Almost all the dishes are spicy and will tingle your tongue.
Sichuan dumplings are delicious and tingly. As is the thrice cooked bacon ($11.50). Shaiganese rice cakes, tofu skin, bitter lemon, and chili oil. These dishes are not for the faint at heart. If you can handle the heat, then you'll be one happy eater.
You can try to balance the heat with an order of salt cod fried rice ($11). Slow cooked mackerel, Chinese sausage, lettuce, and egg.
On my second visit, I knew sweating from the brow, and overpowering spice, was not my cup of green tea, so I tried to order non-spicy dishes.
Smashed cucumbers in garlic sauce ($4), with salted chili, sesame paste and fresh coriander, was refreshing and a fine starter.
Chlled buckwheat noodles ($9), with yuba, grated radish, green chili sauce, and pear, was perfect and tasty.
And then there was the broccoli beef brisket with smoked oyster sauce ($15). The best beef and broccoli dish I have ever encountered. I loved the use of brisket in this dish, and that smoked oyster sauce was wonderful. This dish is ingenious, and a great representation of Mission Chinese as a whole: Unique, Inventive, Hip, and Fun.
So, if you can handle the heat, Mission Chinese is a great place for sharing reinvented Sichuan cuisine. I should note that the prices are beyond reasonable, and make this place a great bang for your buck! Also, 75 cents from every dish you order goes to the Food Bank of NYC which is truly awesome! Def. check out one of their bathrooms, where the theme to "Twin Peaks" plays. A tad creepy, a tad quirky, but all in good fun and taste.
154 Orchard St. (Bet. Stanton and Rivington)
New York, NY 10002