"Mr. Bowien does to Chinese food what Led Zeppelin did to the blues," says Pete Wells of Mission Chinese. Bowien respects tradition while going a little crazy with the details. The housemade pastrami in his kung pao pastrami makes you laugh — because it's so good. But a few stumbles earn the loud cheap-eats spot two stars.
The Daily News' Stan Sagner tells — no, urges — you to make the trip to Flushing for Hahm Ji Bach's shareable Korean portions. Go for the Pajeon (rice flour pancake), steamed blowfish stew, and grill-at-your-table BBQ. Sagner awards three of five stars.
Bushwick's El Mio Cid is a celebration of the famous poem about retaking Spanish territory from the Moors and a commemoration of real Iberian tapas restaurants. Robert Sietsema laments that while hipsters may not be beaten back from the neighborhood anytime soon, whole sautéed sardines, chicken croquettes, and a variety of veggie dishes come in surprisingly large small plates. Skip the unsatisfactory mains — he says they're aimed at warding off hipsters.
The usually kind Tejal Rao enjoys the duck-fat popcorn that came with her butterscotch budino and vanilla ice cream at Arthur on Smith in Carroll Gardens. But the chicken-liver mousse, tough gnocchi, and overcooked shrimp in tagliatelle leave a bad taste. All in all, a Bronx-Italian spot in Brooklyn that's good when it's good.