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Bauer's Mission Chinese Rave????

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Anybody else find Bauer's Mission Chinese rave perplexing?

I ordered nine dishes delivered from Mission Chinese, back before Christmas, and while they were universally interesting and well executed--raising great hopes as we spread this feast across our dinner table--they were also universally inedible, due to a wildly out of control spice level, in every single dish. Nine dishes represents a pretty substantial portion of their small menu; I'd asked specifically for a few dishes that weren't spicy, so my kids might find something to eat; I'm not a high-spice guy myself, but I'm no spice-wuss, either, routinely dousing my fish tacos with habanero sauce, glugging Sriracha onto my eggs, and sprinkling red chile flakes into my greens; and yet we ended up throwing away nearly a hundred dollars worth of food. The entire order, no joke: five minutes into the meal, we conceded defeat in complete amazement and then shoveled it all into the garbage can. We've never done that with a single other meal, ever, from any take-out joint. So what gives? Does Bauer have an asbestos tongue? Or has Mission Chinese perhaps toned it down, in the past 3 months?

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Mission Chinese Food
2234 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

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  1. I don't find it perplexing at all - he rarely gives a bad review to any place where the chef is cooking ethnic food despite being from a different country, if s/he's using local and organic ingredients.

    2 Replies
    1. re: vulber

      Yup. Especially if they have cocktails or other trappings of western-style dining and/or cute waiters.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        generally true, yes; but i would say that MCF has none of those things.

    2. They probably have toned it down. They acknowledged some consistency problems when they announced new hours in January:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7566...

      Bauer's review is also discussed in that topic.

      1. Lots of us find the food there inedible and undistinguished. There's a long existing thread on the topic.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Windy

          "Lots of us" does not include me. I think the food is delicious, and if you order carefully, you will not be overwhelmed by the spice level. Broccoli Beef, eggplant, the porridge are just a few of the not very spicy dishes.

          1. re: Windy

            I am so glad this was not just me! Lol... we ordered a huge, expensive meal from here and most of it went in the garbage can. Yuck, did not like at all...

          2. I don't have an iron tongue and find MCF spicy but enjoyable. I do cook with sichuan peppercorn & red chilis and really like the combined numbing-spicy effect. That might come as a shock to someone not familiar with the effect (especially if you're used to spiciness from red peppers alone as is typical in many cuisines)

            In reference to vulber - I notice the quality difference just on the ingredient level - for instance the taste of the berkshire pig in the ma po dofu is quite pronounced and different from what you typically find. I respect that kind of care and attention to ingredients - which is almost unheard of in similarly priced "ethnic" food places (chinese or otherwise). Not everyone shares these tastes or values but I suppose Bauer does as well.

            There are (apparently) many reports of inconsistency problems.

            1. I don’t trust Bauer's reviews at all. There are many examples of places he raves about that I think are mediocre and vice versa. That being said I have never been to Mission Chinese so I can’t comment on that specifically.