Bauer Says Mission Chinese Food Isn’t Quite as Good Without Bowien

Mission Chinese never looks this uncrowded. Ever.
Mission Chinese never looks this uncrowded. Ever. Photo: Liz Hafalia/Chron

Mr. Bauer was notably slow to catch on to the phenomenon of Mission Chinese Food, which opened in 2010 and didn’t get a review from him until eight months later, well into 2011. But he’s been pretty quick to return and reassess things now that Danny Bowien absconded to New York earlier this year to open the wildly popular Lower East Side location of the restaurant. Bowien has said he’d be back periodically, and he’s still listed as chef, but Bauer finds several menu items that are “practically as good” as they were before, but “a little different.” He compares the fiery food to an “S&M;” experience, and finds the service still brusque, “but it’s grown even more cavalier without Bowien in the mix.” For example, asking for extra napkins after some messy ribs is met with a paltry one extra per person, and beers came to the table in cans, unopened, and lukewarm — a far cry from the free beer they serve to waiting patrons at the New York location. All told, though, it remains at two stars. [Chron]