Ken and I were in the mood for Chinese food the other night and I told him we should check out Mission Chinese Food, a new restaurant that just opened on the Lower East Side, close to The Meatball Shop. We cabbed it over because we were so hungry and I told him to be ready for a really long line. When we arrived, we saw a ton of people waiting outside and realized we weren’t going to last the wait. Instead, we decided to order take out and then eat the food at home – the wait was a lot shorter and we took another cab home so the food was still really fresh! The front of the restaurant is where you put your name down and order take out…it’s also where the keg is located if you are interested in hanging out (because it’s definitely going to be a long wait). The area is really tiny and we were surrounded by lots of bearded hipsters. The front area:
They give you free seltzer and free beer so you can hang out while waiting for seating (which one person complained was more than two hours). We ordered a few things (and tried to stay healthy, but I don’t know how well we did). We started with smashed cucumbers in garlic sauce:
The cucumbers are smashed and mixed with garlic, sesame paste and fresh coriander. I thought the sesame paste added a Middle Eastern flavor to the dish but my mom makes it without the paste (and uses oil instead) which I think has a fresher taste.
Next, the congee/porridge with peanuts:
The dish is rice that is cooked so long in a pot of water that it breaks apart the rice and makes it similar to oatmeal. This one also had peanuts, cilantro, ginger and lots of really great green onion. It was so good, even on a hot summer night!
Next, a seasonal dish of spring peas:
The spring peas were sauteed with hot peppers, ramps and topped with sesame. It was REALLLLLY hot but also really good – a seasonal dish but definitely worth ordering if it’s in season and they have it on their menu!
Last, we ordered the the rice cakes sauteed with bacon, bitter melon and tofu skin:
A really good dish that had a lot of different flavors and a TON of heat. I love bitter melon in the summer time (and it’s supposed to cool you down) so it’s a really good vegetable to cook with the abundance of hot peppers.
We were quite pleased with the meal and definitely plan to return. The restaurant is always busy (it just opened) so I think we’ll continue to get take out – maybe next time, we’ll eat on our rooftop!