Mission Cantina aka the replacement down the street from Mission Chinese is Chef Danny Bowien’s beloved new space since MC shop closed due to the health department at the end of 2013. I know everyone is upset about this, but guess what, I think Mission Cantina is better! The restaurant is more open, lighter, brighter and feels cleaner- not to mention you won’t burn your face off with any spices like the ones on the Mapo Tofu. Everything is cooked with care, and the options are all mouthwatering. I like the set-up of the restaurant better as well and the colored flags hanging from the ceiling paired with the over the door beads by the entrance (which I did have in my middle school room) crank up the vibe and add some personality to the space which also plays overly loud rap and hip hop. The pumpkin taco is magical. It’s everything I wished and hoped it would be with a large portion of the soft vegetable, pumpkin mole, pepitas and some queso cotija. The corn masa/tortilla fits underneath all the ingredients perfectly, and this baby is only $5. What a great snack. Definitely get this. We also had a cheese (oaxaca) appetizer mixed with trout roe and broccoli rabe. It was very interesting. I’ve never had anything like it, and if you closed your eyes and ate it, you might think you were eating scrambled eggs with lox. It’s fun to try and very tasty but it’s the pumpkin taco I will be going back for consistently.
Also, the grilled Whole Rotisserie Chicken is no joke. There is a fried option and a grilled option. The grilled comes with this rice that is packed with flavorful, explosive and has some raisins, pecans and chorizo. The combination with the chicken that is cooked in pork fat and as juicy as you could ever imagine is exceptional. It could feed about 4 people or feed 2 at the restaurant and provide 2 different meals of leftovers. It’s served with some of those amazing corn tortillas and salsas and you can wrap yourself up a little taco. I’m telling you don’t miss this dish. In my California words, “this chicken is dank!” It’s a pretty cheap meal if you just order a few tacos, too, and you can walk out happy. Each order only comes with one. You can share it easily or keep it to yourself. Options include: Rotisserie Pork Belly, Confit Pork Shoulder, BBQ Pork Rib, Beef Tongue, Grilled Brisket, Chicken Wing with Braised Octopus, etc.
Obviously, you can get guacamole and chips but there are so many unique options here that you can’t get at any of the other Mexican/taco joints, so be a big kid and try those instead. This is what is so great about Mission Cantina that even as I was sitting there I was thinking I can’t wait to come back and try more. That’s what makes a restaurant solid- when you have only had one bite and are already thinking about your next visit and what you want to order. The jams here sure our loud with Lil Wayne blowing up. Really I’ve never seen a Mexican restaurant quite like this one, and I’m happy to say that even with all the hype, I’m in to it. ***Beware they are closed on Mondays. It’s pretty easy to walk in for lunch, too.