i've been horribly remiss in updating this blog. and i don't really have a good excuse for it except to say i am extremely lazy.
i'd been to Mission Chinese when it was located at its former LES location on Rivington (i think that's where it was?) but hadn't been back since they moved. so when a date suggested going there, i was more than happy to give it another shot. i had vague memories of the food being good, if a little salty, and Bubby's lips being burned off her face (figuratively, not literally of course).
perhaps because it was a weekday, and relatively early (6:30ish), we had no problem getting a table although the place was packed and got more so as the night wore on. although there were pockets of couples out for dinner, it seemed like the place was more popular as a foursome or a large group. a smart move because that offers you the option to order more items from the menu.
i let my date do most of the ordering. as i found out through subsequent dates, he has a big hankering for asian fusion food. he ordered the 2 main staples at Mission: (1) Kung Pao Pastrami (home fries, tianjin chili, celery and peanuts) ($14); and (2) Chongqing Chicken Wings (crispy beef tripe, explosive chili, xinjiang spices) ($13). the wings arrived first, and while yes, they are crispy and yes, the spice is that numbing szechuan spice which can be fun at times, i was reminded of my last visit to the restaurant: SALTY. which was further emphasized with the arrival of the pastrami dish. MORE SALT. the pastrami had a great chew to it and the potatoes add a balancing starch, but both dishes uses some powdery spice substance that appears to make them super salty. no wonder i drank 4 jamesons before the last 2 dishes arrived.
we also had to wait an inordinate amount of time before we were served the complimentary scrambled eggs gyoza/fried dumplings. an innovative twist, Mission doesn't provide anything as traditional as a bread or crudite service. instead it offers starchy pan-fried goodness in the form of dumplings.
what i did insist on was a vegetable dish. i'm a big proponent of ordering a balanced meal, which tends to get overlooked when you order the most eye-candy menu items. in order to appease me, we ended up with an order of Black Kale and Pea Greens (bone marrow broth and healthy grains) ($14). ultimately, this was the perfect complement to the rest of the spicy and salty dishes my date ordered. it has a very mild but substantive flavor (is that contradictory? well bully to you, because that's what it tasted like). although i didn't get an overwhelming bone marrow flavor, the broth was a soothing and gentle accompaniment to the greens.
i can never resist a Salt Cod Fried Rice (chinese sausage, lettuce, egg) ($14), so i was really looking forward to this dish, but Mission's was a huge disappointment. the rice was extremely undercooked which made the whole dish pretty much inedible. furthermore, it didn't have the nice salt cod kick that makes the dish so unique.
there are so many other dishes on the menu that i'd like to try, so i'm not completely writing Mission off, but i also wonder if it's worth it to go a third time and spend money at a restaurant that, if salty again, i wouldn't be surprised isn't as good as the hype.
fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice...