With a dining room that looks like it could have been designed by Austin Powers (love the 60s-era chandeliers, the tin foil “forest,” and all the pudgy ceramic Buddhas), and a menu as groovy, Mission remains one of the hottest restaurants in town. Credit goes to chef/owner Danny Bowien, whose signature dishes—Kung Pao pastrami and thrice-cooked bacon—are explosions of flavor (rivers of spice, the tenderest of meats, surprising veggies). New additions to the menu, like the refreshing papaya, banana blossom, and chicken salad, and the velvety noodles with matcha (green tea) sauce, are just as scrumptious, if more subtle. The resto even coddles less-courageous eaters with a fried chicken that is at once wonderfully crisp and moister-than-moist, thanks to a fermenting agent used on the skin. Cocktails are supplied by not one but two groovy on-site lounges.
- Pauline Frommer