GQ recently named Danny Bowien's Mission Chinese Food one of the top ten best new restaurants in America — and rightfully so. Bowien's food, which initially began as a pop-up joint within the Mission Street Food scene, has taken ahold of both the city and country with its casual-yet-complicated menu. (Bowien recently appeared on The Martha Stewart Show recently showing off his hand-pulled biang biang noodle technique.) What makes Mission Chinese Food so brilliant? For starters, Bowien never really cooked Chinese food until MCF opened. GQ's resident ass grabber/kiddie critic pimper Alan Richman writes:
Now the food is pure Mission Chinese: mostly Chinese, somewhat American, occasionally spicy, a bit unorthodox, absolutely brilliant.
Last year Bowien said, "I don't know how to make Chinese food." His critique of his two cooks was the same. Now, he admits, "we're definitely finding our stride." His menu lists twenty-seven items, most under $12, nothing for more than $17. He does takeout and delivery, too.
The dishes at Mission Chinese were wonderful from the start, prepared with ingredients such as Benton's Tennessee bacon. More significant was the cooking of Bowien, a natural. A few years ago he won a pesto- making contest in Genoa, the home of pesto. It was the first time he ever made it. After that, how difficult can it be to turn out silken egg custard with uni and trout roe, my favorite Mission Chinese dish?
In March, Bowien will move to New York to open an East Coast spore of Mission Chinese Food, expected on the Lower East Side later this year. "It's not going to be super fancy. It'll be the same, but cleaner," Bowien explained to Inside Scoop. "But we know the food and we can design the restaurant where we'll be more efficient."
Watch Bowien's Martha appearance below:
Mission Chinese Food: 2234 Mission (at 18th Street), SF, 415-863-2800