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Best Comeback


New York diners greeted Danny Bowien and his Mission Chinese Food with open arms in 2012, then practically bear-hugged the man until he passed out — even as they endured hours-long sidewalk waits only to sit in deafening, cramped quarters and have their faces melted by Chongqing chicken wings. Structural issues led to heath department issues and eventually forced the enterprising chef’s hand: Fare thee well, old Orchard Street digs. Bowien then opened a Mexican restaurant, became a father, and found a new space for his flagship. Now prospective diners can wait in a comfortable front lounge area, sampling Sam Anderson’s boundary-pushing cocktails, like the Phil Khallins, a lush mix of gin, coconut milk, kaffir lime, and chiles served in a soup bowl. Framed by large red banquettes and a dramatic silver back wall, the new dining room is as sumptuous as the old one was merciless. The menu’s expanded, too. Bowien and executive chef Angela Dimayuga have stepped away from the tongue-searing Sichuan cuisine that earned the original restaurant much of its acclaim. What’s emerged is electrifying: a pan-Asian playground where green-tea noodles hide under a deluge of matcha powder, where caviar and salted kefir butter get spread onto hot rounds of sourdough baked in a wood-fired oven. For nostalgists, the wings are still around, as is the Lower East Side powerhouse kung pao pastrami. 171 East Broadway, Manhattan 10002, no phone,

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 13, 2015

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