Chef Danny Bowien's Mission Chinese Food in New York's Lower East Side draws locals and tourists, as well as world leaders and renowned chefs:
"We were somewhere around mapo, on the edge of the catfish, when the peppercorns began to take hold. I remember saying something like, 'Maybe I should slow down…,' pushing a plate of Mongolian long beans into the cluttered center of the overburdened table. And suddenly the numb rush was upon me, a long, white, buzzy tunnel. At the end of it, I could still see the women across the table talking, but I could no longer quite make out the words. On the sound system, the Stones' "Shattered" sounded like it was being played through the blades of a helicopter. I reached for the cool-looking pinkish drink on the table and took a deep gulp, only to remember it was a michelada made of Bud Light spiked with smoked-clam juice, chile oil, and a rim of more crushed chiles and Sichuan peppercorns. I felt like a Looney Tunes character trying to quench the fire of a jalapeño with a nice draught of Tabasco. Peeling myself off the ceiling, I came down face-to-face with a leering bright-yellow forty-foot dragon. On the wall, a cavalry of luridly painted Red Chinese generals on horseback regarded me with bemused, pitying expressions."
PUBLISHED: Nov. 24, 2012
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3894 words)