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Danny Bowien Goes ALL BURRITO at Mission Cantina

The perpetually shape-shifting restaurant has a totally new focus and style of service.

Daniel Krieger

For the last two years, Danny Bowien has used his restaurant on the corner of Orchard and Stanton Streets as place to test out ideas and cook whatever he was most excited about at any given moment. The restaurant has served fried chicken, dollar tacos, fry bread, burgers, crunch wraps, Vietnamese breakfast dishes, super nachos, rotisserie chickens, and veal heart ceviche.

But starting this week Mission Cantina's menu is devoted to one item that Bowien is particularly passionate about: burritos. And he's not just going to serve the fried chicken, chile relleno, and super veggie burritos that he's served in the past. Starting today Bowien is also offering a daily "Chinese burrito." The option will change frequently, but recently he's been experimenting with a mapo tofu and salt cod fried rice burrito, and another stuffed with cumin lamb. Someday soon, he might also serve iterations of this burrito stuffed with kung pao pastrami, and broccoli and brisket. Think of it as a hybrid of Mission Cantina and Mission Chinese. Here's a look at the mapo tofu and salt cod fried rice burrito:

[Photo: Robert Sietsema]

[Photo: Robert Sietsema]

[In a test run, this burrito contained ma po tofu, salt cod fried rice, onions, cilantro, white cheese, and lettuce, with a red vinegar-and-chile dipping sauce. Photo: Robert Sietsema]

The new set-up is similar to what you find in a lot of Bay Area taquerias: place your order at the podium, get a number, fill-up on accompaniments from the salsa bar, pick your utensils and water, find a seat, and your burrito will be delivered to your table when it's ready. Here's a look at the new layout:

Right now, the bar has  eight selections, including charred jalapenos minced fine, habanero salsa, spicy cucumbers, pickled onions, canned jalapenos and carrots, salsa verde, hot chili with vinegar (the same sauce that comes with the Chinese burri

Bowien is en route to San Francisco today to work with his team on introducing these Chinese burritos to the Mission Chinese SF menu. With these changes at Mission Cantina, the chef also announces that he's no longer making the tortillas in the restaurant, which is a bummer because they were great. For more on the composition of these Mission Cantina burritos, check out Robert Siestema's look under the hood, and Ryan Sutton's review from last year.

Oh, and one more major, major Mission update: Later this fall, Bowien will debut a steam-table buffet operation in the front barroom of Mission Chinese Food, where dishes will be sold by-the-pound. No word yet on just when, exactly, that will make its debut.

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Mission Cantina

172 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002 (212) 254-2233 Visit Website

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