I checked another item off the ol’ bucket list….
Mission Chinese is a restaurant that has been raved about to the moon and back in the past year. In fact, Zagat listed it as it’s "2013 Top Ten Hottest Restaurants in the World".
Joel and I actually tried to dine here in March. We arrived Friday at 7pm (considered Early Bird Special timing for Manhattan) and expected to put our name on the list, grab a couple drinks at a neighborhood bar, and return around 10pm to eat.
We were wrong.
Not only is there a no reservation policy, but when we arrived at 7pm, 90 minutes after opening, they were already completely full for the rest of the evening.
Naturally, we left deflated.
Last Friday, knowing the city was a bit deserted due to the holiday weekend, we tried again.
Joel and I arrived at 5:45pm, were quoted an hour wait, and were seated by 7pm.
So, was all the hype worth it?
Me thinks not. In fact, I think it’s very OVER hyped….as do many other Yelp reviewers.
First of all, the interior felt a bit dumpy and at some parts, even dirty (are you stacking dishes on the floor?!). The service was rather rough and our waiter seemed constantly annoyed, even when we inquired after our beverages 20 minutes after we ordered them.
With that said, I think it’s all part of their schtick….
Our waiter recommended we order 4 dishes, but we went with six in order to taste test as much as possible.
Mapo Tofu - a tofu stew with pork shoulder. This definitely tasted very “authentic” (whatever that means), and while it was okay, it’s tasted a bit, off. Perhaps it was the doubanjiang ingredient? Not sure, but we only made our way through half of it.
Thrice Cooked Bacon - this was easily our favorite dish. The bacon and rice cake dumplings were the perfect combo, if not a wee bit too spicy.
Salt Cod Fried Rice - this was good, but it’s fried rice - how could it not be? Nothing to get too excited about.
The Pork Belly didn’t even stand a chance once it arrived. I wasn’t expecting thinly sliced meat and as it was listed under hot dishes, it was quite a surprise when the cold, slimy meat hit my tongue.
Spicy Scallop XO Noodles - on the menu, this dish sounded like my dream come true. In reality, both Joel and I took one bite and gave them one bite, looked at each other with disgust, and didn’t touch it again. XO is a common seafood sauce, which I should like, but it tasted more like licorice, which I can’t stomach.
Would I return to Mission Chinese?
Am I glad I crossed it off my list?
And even if someone told me they have a meh experience there, I think I’d want to try it for myself……
I mean, it’s a top ten restaurant in the world…..according to some.