Mission Chinese Food
Huge-deal Chinese food from San Fran

New York

Even if you have a serious beef with Chinese takeout broccoli, you'd be a fool to skip over Mission Chinese Food and its seemingly run-of-the-mill counter & open kitchen, as both its back-lit menu and pulls of "free keg beer" reveal something much more awesome: free freakin' beer. Oh, and also food that won its fame in notoriously picky San Fran!

Walk through a narrow corridor beside the kitchen and you'll discover a Chinese New Year's rave of a dining room, where glowing black lights and pink neon illuminate chairs hanging from the rafters above the seats, and a twisted paper dragon dangling over the bar, mocking you as the food's building heat has you breathing fire.

Speaking of which, that food's prepped by vets from Momofuku, Blue Hill, and, of course, the SF original, and includes adventurous fried chicken wings covered in chili peppers & crispy tripe; lamb cheek dumplings w/ black vinegar, rock sugar, and numbing peppercorns that leave a tingling sensation akin to a fizzy soda; and Thrice Cooked Bacon, approximately two more times than was necessary to make you want to eat it.

A full liquor license is forthcoming, but for now it's suds from Empire, keg wines, and soju-based cocktails like the Great Northern (grapefruit, yuzu, sparkling wine), and the mirin/muddled Umeboshi/shiso One Eyed Jack, a man whose ubiquitous presence in Chinese takeout restaurants accounts for why you avoid their beef.

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1. Mission Chinese Food 171 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

This buzzy Chinese restaurant by Danny Bowien (whose first location was closed down due to landlord issues) reopened at this spot, offering many of their popular classics and some surprises (wood-fired pizza!!). Their fried rice is unbelievable, with lumps of confit mackerel, Chinese sausage, and scrambled egg. The menu goes on for pages, and all the items are very reasonably priced, so bring your own crowd to add to the crowd and get elbows deep in some Szechuan dishes.

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