|Kung Pao pastrami (front) and pork jowl with radishes
Eating at Mission Chinese, the hottest new restaurant in the hood, is like going to a hipster house party. With really good food. Upon arrival for dinner, you're asked to help yourself to the beer keg while you wait. And there will be a wait, spilling onto Orchard St. That gesture in itself sets the tone for the place. They care.
|Sichuan pickled vegetables
When your table is ready, you'll follow a long hallway into a ramshackle dining room, buzzing with diners. Plates are generous, made for sharing. Start with pickles. Both the turnips and long bean pickles with cumin ($4), and Sichuan pickled veggies ($4) are zesty and refreshing - and spicy.
Many of the dishes are fired up with Sichuan peppercorn. Be forewarned. If you haven't tasted this spice before, be ready for a heat that sneaks up on you, numbs your tongue and doesn't let go. The signature Kung Pao pastrami ($11), with meat smoked for 12 hours, sets your mouth ablaze. That didn't stop me from taking home the leftovers and whipping up an omelet the next day.
|Thrice cooked bacon
Charity also plays a role for the New York outpost of this San Francisco cult favorite. A portion of sales goes to the Food Bank for New York City.
While Mission Chinese is eyeing Brooklyn for a second location, enjoy it now.
154 Orchard Street (at Rivington)
212 529 8800
Lunch 12pm -3pm
Dinner 5:30pm - 12am