The Citiblog

Chef Danny Bowien Turns Up The Heat at Mission Chinese – Again!
May 13, 2024, 5:56.14 pm ET



For the next few weeks, New Yorkers have the chance to taste Danny Bowien’s fiery cuisine as he takes up residence at Cha Kee in Chinatown with a menu of memorable bites, some fiery, some delicious and others just off-the-wall crazy. It’s a show you won’t want to miss.

First let’s travel back in time to 2012 when we first caught a taste of Danny Bowien’s cuisine. It was at a small subterranean spot on Orchard Street with a reddish hue that matched the fiery cuisine coming out of Bowien’s kitchen. Here we were introduced to Chongqing Chicken Wings served on a bed of fragrant dried chilies. The wings are back with the same “numbing” warning.

Another super-spicy dish to try is Bowien’s Mapo Tofu, minced pork shoulder and silken tofu stewed in beef fat and fermented chili sauce. My son compared it to a cauldron from hell. Tread lightly. Also offering plenty of heat - Pork and Shrimp Wontons served in a red chili and salty peanut sauce. While Bowien's dishes are hot, he remains an expert at balancing heat while not losing the flavors of the underlying ingredients.

Some dishes happily ditch the heat altogether like Lobster Noodles R&G Lounge with chunks of juicy lobster over green garlic noodles swimming in an ultra-rich butter sauce. No shells. No cracking. Ignore it at your peril. And don't miss out on the Broccoli Beef Cheek, also making a return visit. Beneath a mound of crunchy Chinese broccoli (gai lan) you will find hefty chunks of some of the most tender beef we’ve tasted smothered in a smoked oyster sauce. It's a great bite.

Other flashback dishes from 14 years ago, include Thrice Cooked Bacon and Rice Cakes served with bitter lemon; and Salt Cod Fried Rice with Chinese sausage. Among the newcomers – Kung Pao Pastrami made with Hometown Pastrami, home fries, peanuts, and peppers & onions.

Unlike the original NYC outpost, Bowien is also serving up a quirky dessert. Sandy’s Silky Lemon Cream is a cooling dessert topped layered with pop rocks and black tea ice. We paired it with the Beijing Vinegar Peanuts dotted with brightly colored licorice sprinkles. Three cocktails are also being served, including a Lychee Martini.

Mission Chinese is open Wednesday through Sunday starting at 5pm inside Cha Kee (43 Mott St) through the end of the summer. Be sure to add this funky pop-up to your summer menu.

- Thomas Rafael