Best Thing We Ate

Tasting Tacos at Mission Chinese Food's NY Spinoff

By Tamara Palmer  |  November 25, 2013
Credit: Tamara Palmer

It's been a little over three years since Mission Chinese Food debuted in San Francisco. Now, there's not only a counterpart to the restaurant on New York's Lower East Side (although it is closed temporarily), but it has spawned a brand new Mexican spinoff called Mission Cantina just one block up. If you find yourself on a field trip to the Big Apple, as we did this weekend, you'll find in Mission Cantina a comfortable place to eat that brings a taste of home. Look for tacos and large shared plates of rotisserie chicken and pork ribs, with little in the way of predictability. As with his hybridized take on Chinese food, chef Danny Bowien applies a similarly world-wise philosophy to this south of the border affair, which uses Mexico merely as a jumping-off point into an international culinary adventure. Thus, you'll find the sweet and sour tang of tamarind in the lamb rib tacos, charred Oaxacan cheese on the mixed mushroom (hongos) tacos and righteous chunks of bacon mixed with beef brisket on a tacofied take on the classic dish alambres, all for four bucks apiece. New York has never been known for Mexican food, especially among food-savvy Californians, but here's a promising newcomer worth checking out from a team of SF expatriates.