Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Restaurant reviewlet: Mission Chinese

waiting in line for the foodie destination du jour, the elevated but respectful take on Chinese food at Mission Chinese, a pop-up restaurant cohabiting the space of a traditional chinese take-out joint.

we put our name down on the list with a crowd of people out front and 15-20 tables ahead. the estimate was 3-5 min per table and sure enoug we were seated about 70 minutes later.

kinda curious why sf tolerates waiting, walking around we saw long lines for ice cream joints (humphrey slocum, birite) and bakeries (tartine), and even organic vegan mexican (gracias madre), a contrast to nyc where such lines are rare, (except maybe at magnolia, which is mostly tourists, since locals all seem to agree their cupcakes mostly suck).

the food was quite yummy. definitley not fusion, and definitely not contempo, but also not quite chinese. mostly a healthy respect for the original recipe and no fear of szcecuan peppercorns.

the tea-infused eel was yummy, wrapped in cheung fun, and with a nice duck fat crunch.

the egg custard was a tofu clone, a play on textures with exploding salmon roe, but a bit odd flavor wise.

the mapo tofu and salt fish fried rice and mustard greens and garlic were all fairly chinese, the rice nicely dry and separated, the mapo nicely ma as well as la, the greens nicely cooked but mostly traditional.

the only real failure with the lamb noodle soup, with flavor profile much like the taiwanese beef noodle soup i grew up but over reduced so very very salty. the lamb tho was incredibly tender.

anyway, good food, worth the wait and much of the hype, and we got to contemplate the sf foodie caste amiably chatting on the sidewalk outside, and compare and contrast with the ny scene.

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