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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jonathan Kauffman Burns for Mission Chinese Food's Danny Bowien

Posted By on Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 12:12 PM

At Mission Chinese Food, Danny Bowien cooks up a short list of searing tributes to his favorite Chinese dishes.
  • At Mission Chinese Food, Danny Bowien cooks up a short list of searing tributes to his favorite Chinese dishes.
Maybe Danny Bowien couldn't thrive anywhere else but in San Francisco. Maybe the same is true of Mission Chinese Food, the Chinese-restaurant-in-a-Chinese-restaurant Bowien orchestrates at Lung Shan. SF Weekly critic Jonathan Kauffman puts himself in Bowien's hands for this week's "Eat" column, getting his ass kicked and his face melted by a series of mostly Sichuan dishes.

As Bowien proved in the waning days of Mission Street Food ― also at Lung Shan ― when he forged a pop-up series devoted to Great World Chefs, Bowien is an avid imitator. At Mission Chinese Food, that means copying dishes Bowien's tasted at Spices II and Old Mandarin Islamic. Kauffman:

The result of his hyperkinetic experimentation is a rich, spicy, palate-slamming food. Sometimes Bowien's restlessness ruins a dish. Sometimes you wish he'd try a little delicacy. And some of his food is so good he seems to be inventing a new culinary genre. It's not East-West fusion: It's more like detonation.

Burn your lips on Kauffman's Bowien exegesis at SF Extra credit: Rifle through Mary Ladd's two-part Bowien Q&A from last April, while he was still frying up patties at Mission Burger in Duc Loi (Bowien Part 1 here, Bowien Part 2 there). And for a more recent scan of Bowien's brain, check out Kauffman's "Eat" Extra on SFoodie.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Follow Jonathan Kauffman at @jonkauffman.

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