Mission Chinese Food started out as one of the original pop-ups in an existing restaurant — in this case, an old, run-down, very hole-in-the-wall-ish Chinese dive (in the best possible sense), Lung Shan. It even ended up going bi-coastal, with three sister restaurants in New York for a time. When I ordered from Mission Chinese recently, it had been at least 10 years since my first visit. It was time to give it another shot.
To share, we got the smashed cucumbers, made with a whipped tehina (not to be confused with tahini) and black garlic confit. We also got the Westlake lamb dumplings, with tzatziki and a málà vinaigrette, which I took a chance on that the lamb-disliking BF would be OK with. For his main, he got mapo tofu with pork, and I got the cumin lamb ribs with caramelized onions and pickles.
The cukes were refreshing and tangy, and the BF even liked the dumplings — crispy and meaty morsels — although the málà vinaigrette was more là than má: spicy, but not really mouth-tingling at all. BF’s mapo tofu was also lacking in málà, and he found it rather bland. Plus, he thought the dish would be more pork-centric, even though I told him it was primarily a tofu dish. The Sichuan peppercorns gave the dish a strong herbal note that I’d never had in this dish. Still, the BF ate it all. Next time he can get the Kung Pao pastrami like I told him to.
My lamb was DELICIOUS. Super fatty, extremely lamby, like lamb on crack, lamb to the nth degree, UBER LAMB. BF even liked the bite he had. The pickles were the perfect accompaniment to the rich gaminess of the lamb. Even the caramelized onions were simply scrumptious. I used the leftovers the next day.
I’m curious to try more of their menu: the Beijing-style vinegar peanuts, the cabbage with pistachio milk (!), the previously mentioned pastrami, the broccoli beef brisket, the Oaxacan garlic fried chicken (!!), the Sichuan carbonara, the salt cod fried rice … it’s all very intriguing. There are many veggie items as well, and Mexican Coke. And it really seems to fit the mood of the moment, hunkering down at home with some good old Chinese take-out, the Mission Chinese Food way.
Mission Chinese Food
2234 Mission St.