Mission Chinese Food

The night after we went to Mission Chinese Food, we all woke up as garlic breathing dragons.  Josh eats Chinese all the time.  I stopped eating Chinese on a regular basis years ago.  Probably burnt out after years of Sunday night Chinese that continued into the post-college world.  But, it was essential that we tried Mission Chinese Food.  The buzz is big and the lines are long. 

This store is across the street.  I am sure this owner can't get over what has happened on the LES. 

Fred and I walked over there after seeing a movie and waited for Josh.  The restaurant opens at 530 and the line was already quite long.  Taking Chinese food and giving it a twist with different meats and ideas has already taken place in many of the other cuisines we eat so why not Chinese. 

The front of the restaurant looks like your typical dive except the keg of beer that is self serve and free  while you wait for your table.  Once you get a seat you are escorted to the back through long hallway with an open kitchen filled with woks.  Really great vibe in the back.  Separate and communal tables including a tiny bar with stools.  There is almost a speakeasy quality back there.  It as if they tented a backyard and opened a restaurant. 

The menu is quite large.  Small and large plates.  We definitely ordered too much but we wanted to taste a few different things.  Best to come with a group and get there early.  Here is my overall take on the food.  Heavy handed and insanely spicy.  Almost too spicy because there is definitely some unique flavors in the food but the spice is so overwhelming that you can barely taste the nuance of the other flavors.  The dishes are also heavy handed and laden with garlic.  Hence the garlic breathing dragons this morning. 

We began with peanut noodles.  Actually everything comes out so fast that there was no beginning just everything at once.  Noodles mixed with spinach, pickled mustard greens, ginger, garlic and peanut sauce.  I liked the addition of greens to the noodles. 

This intrigued me.  Red braised pig tails but they really weren't pig tails they were short thick pig ribs that were super fatty.  Braised in root beer with pieces of sweet and sour pineapple and thinly sliced pickled cucumbers on top. 

Slices of brisket mixed with brocolli and a smoky oyster sauce.  Simple with very little spice.  The sauce was really rich.

Thrice cooked bacon is one of the dishes that is supposedly a must try.  A few bites and you are done.  So rich.  Crispy pieces of bacon mixed with rice cakes that have the consistency of gnocchi mixed with chili oil.  This is so clever but could use a more interesting sauce to bring out the rest of the mix.

Kung Pao Pastrami.  A total take on the kung pao dish that is seen in every Chinese restaurant through NYC.  Lots of veggies, peanuts and chunks of pastrami.  Good and spicy.

To give you a really good idea of the spice here is what the people sitting next to us left on their plate.  Just the red chiles and underneath this was another plate filled with them.  I asked if any of them planned on eating these.  They laughed. 

Glad we went.  I prefer Red Farm.  Just too too for me.  I am pretty sure I won't feel normal for a few days. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Jlix

    Try Yunnan Kitchen, just around the corner from MC on Clinton. Super light and fresh–fantastic ingredients–

    1. Gotham Gal

      that is the other on my list. thanks.

  2. kirklove

    Sorry you didn’t dig. It’s def “pasado” (heavy!) as Lili would say. We always split stuff in the office, because you’re right you can only take a bit of each. I still love it though.Second the trip to Yunnan. Been a few times. Super good, lighter, and a great, unexplored cuisine/region of Chinese food. Plus, a cool space.

  3. kenberger

    Another to add to a related list is Xi’an Famous Foods, East Village location has a similar vibe: http://www.xianfoods.comBut I just can’t recommend it for similar reasons you mention– way too heavy and unhealthy tasting.However, some of this stuff is actually pretty authentic to the real thing. I’ve been all over China and food there can be a very mixed bag.

  4. ellen

    hate heavy greasy spicy chinese. like meat and fresh vegetables. There are so many different styles and regions that chinese food has many subcategories.

    1. Gotham Gal

      too many for me.

  5. ellen

    If I didn’t take out chinese food at least once a week we would starve.

    1. Gotham Gal


  6. garlic flake

    We definitely ordered too much but we wanted to taste a few different things. Best to come with a group and get there early. Here is my overall take on the food. Heavy handed and insanely spicy. Almost too spicy because there is definitely some unique flavors in the food but the spice is so overwhelming that you can barely taste the nuance of the other flavors.

    1. Gotham Gal

      totally agree