Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Mission Chinese Food - New York

Andrew took us to Mission Chinese Food in Chinatown on the Lower East Side (Manhattan) in early January 2018. It has a Zagat review of 4.3 for food and was described by Zagat as "Californian Sichuan fare." Chef Danny Bowien was named Rising Star Chef by the James Beard Foundation and has been described as reinventing "Americanized Oriental Food." I personally rated it as 5 out of 5 on my own scale.   

It was a small menu and we ordered and shared. I'm having a hard time matching up some of our photos with the menu items. 
Our first dish was Chongqing lamb riblets (hot and spicy) with halal white sauce, explosive chili and chongqing wing spice. Chongqing, or Chungking, is a city in southwestern China and the wing spice includes Sichuan peppercorns, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, cardamom pods, cloves, cayenne pepper, mushroom powder, sugar and salt. That's a lot of stuff going on in the spice. The riblets were wonderful.
The numbing cucumber salad had grilled chili paste and tehina. Apparently grilled chili paste is made from roasted and then reconstituted dried chilies, not paste that is grilled. 
Chengdu style hot peanut noodles had chili pickled long beans, shredded radish and lime leaves. Chengdu is the capital city of the Chinese province of Sechuan. So Chengdu style could also be referred to as Sichuan, Szechuan or Szechwan which is characterized by bold flavors from liberal use of garlic and chili peppers, particularly the Sichuan pepper. 
The Beijing vinegar peanut pickles had black vinegar, white seawood and turbinado sugar. Pickle and peanut was an animated tv show that aired on Disney XD from 2015 to January 2018 (we visited in January 2018). It featured an anthropomorphic pickle and peanut. I'm wondering if this dish was inspired by the show, or cancellation of the show. It appears that pickled peanuts are first simmered in vinegar for about 30 minutes, then cooled in a refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend. 
The next dish may be Westlake rice porridge with rare beef, ikura, sea urchin, ginger and cilantro, although it does not look like the dish from other photos I find. Perhaps it was just rice brought to our table.
I also struggle with the next dish. I believe it may be crunchy chicken and shredded mango salad with crispy white beans, lentil, crackers, dried mango, herbs and palm sugar dressing.
These next dishes I just can't place.
This looks like broccoli and I don't see broccoli on the menu.
Too much time has elapsed and I don't have good notes. However, the abiding impression is that Chinatown in Manhattan, which I've come to have no regard for, was restored to some extent. This was great food. 

1 comment:

  1. A true Chinese feast, as good as food we have had in China, and with incredible variety. I hope we are able to go back on a future trip.