Mr. Bauer took his time checking out Mission Chinese Food, which opened eight months back within Lung Shan restaurant, and we're kind of surprised he even did! He's been vocally pretty anti-pop-up, calling them a "a slap in the face" to real restaurants, and not even including Saison in the Top 100 last year because they'd spent most of the previous year as a three-night-a-week pop-up. So his deigning even to review Mission Chinese marks some sort of caving to popular pressure. He writes that this is "the poster child for alternative dining scenarios," gushing about Danny Bowien and partner Anthony Myint's charitable giving, and saying of Bowien's Korean-American takes on Chinese food, "Not everything works sometimes his dishes can be heavy-handed in the fat and spice department but others are so spectacular that they more than make up for any misfires."
He especially loves the ma po tofu, the salt cod fried rice, and the broccoli beef, and he calls out the Vegan Delight too. Predictably, he's not so charmed by the strings of Christmas lights and the posters of Chinese Communist leaders astride glorious steeds, saying the place has "no ambience" and calling the posters "warped and faded." With only one star for atmosphere and one and a half for service, the three-star rating for food becomes two stars overall. [Chron]
And in other Bauer news, he just "realize[d] that 'whole animal' is now a buzz word used (and probably misused) as frequently these days as 'local, sustainable and humanely raised.'" He says that five years ago, Koi Palace was the only place you could find a whole roast suckling pig, and now everyone's doing it! He goes on to round up the various places one can find "whole animal" cuisine around town, including Incanto, One Market, and Fifth Floor. [Between Meals/Scoop]