It’s unlikely to find so much national buzz emanate from a neighborhood Chinese joint, but that’s exactly what Anthony Myint, Karen Leibowitz and chef Danny Bowien managed to generate at Mission Chinese Food, a cutting-edge Chinese restaurant that occupies Lung Shan, which would pretty much have to look like the prototypical dive to passersby, but isn’t.
At least part of the restaurant’s appeal would have to come down to community. Myint and Leibowitz begin by sharing some love on the menu, proudly displaying a photo of Lung Shan’s kitchen family: Sue, Liang, Lo Lei, T-Bone, Auntie and Shifu. Prior to my meal at Mission Chinese Food, the entire crew had just returned from an R&D trip to China. Clearly they’re close. Just wait, it gets even better. $0.75 from each entree benefits the San Francisco Food Bank. They’ve built up a lot of good will, to the point that diners would likely be forgiving of the food, not they need to be.
Even before Mission Chinese Food graced the pages of Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurant issue, the restaurant was already the place to be. Two respected restaurant pros were there during my meal, including Bar Agricole owner Thad Vogler and ink. General Manager Josh Goldman, in town prior to his restaurant’s debut. It was particularly good to run into him, since he just finished eating with a group of friends and was ready with recommendations.
Mission Chinese Food was indeed an exciting experience, with limited decor, but bold flavors. Just think, eating at the restaurant benefits a worthy cause. 3x Cooked Bacon AND Karma? Count me in.