Sunday, March 1, 2015

Yelp Review of the Day: Danny Bowien's Mission Cantina

Feel Good Foodies has been on a slight hiatus, but what you readers must know is that when I'm not blogging, I'm Yelping. It's no secret that I love Yelp. It's more than just a website with reviews of local spots - it's a community. I realized this two years ago. I quickly applied for something called Yelp Elite, a group of Yelpers that attend exclusive events and serve as ambassadors of the Yelp community. The rest is history.

Why am I telling you this? Today I achieved a new milestone on Yelp: my first Review of the Day, or ROTD in Yelp-speak. Each day, the homepage of  Yelp for each city refreshes, and serves up a new Review of the Day for all to read. All day on March 1, 2015, you'll see my mug, and my favorite review that I've ever written in the top-right section of the Yelp Manhattan homepage. You can read the review, a unique experience had at Danny Bowien's Mission Cantina, here.

I'm also sharing it below, with excitement and documentation of this proud moment in history.

Feel good,

To begin, Danny Bowien is so confident, that he knows you don't need a knife to eat dinner at Mission Cantina. To only receive half of a silver wear setting at a hip chef's LES Mexican joint has to indicate confidence rather than negligence, right? ...There I go again starting a story in the middle. 

Let's rewind. It's a chill Friday night and my boyfriend and I find ourselves on Stanton Street, early. We're searching for that laid back little cash-only noodle bar across the street from Arlene's Grocery. You know, the one called Noodle Bar. It's gone. In its place stands Mission Cantina, looking like a mix between a diner and a night club with its metallic surfaces, triangle mirrors and neon lights. They take our phone number, we go get drinks elsewhere, they call us to come back. I LOVE when restaurants do this.

Once seated, I immediately order a michelada (perfection), and realize that the entire ceiling is hand-painted in a camouflage pattern. I ponder the amount of time and work that must have taken, while I simultaneously realize that the music sounds like my iPod from 2007.* Missy Elliot, Aaliyah, Nelly Furtado, the works. What IS this place? The entire ambiance puts me in the zone, and when the waiter returns I put on my big girl pants and order for my boyfriend and I: 
-- octopus ceviche with avocado, coconut milk and habanero
-- grilled brisket alambres with bacon, queso Oaxaca, peppers and onions
-- masa fried chicken with smoked habanero honey, pumpkin seed furikake

Done. I'm satisfied with my order and my boyfriend is jaw-dropped in shock that I  made all the decisions for once. Every bite of food we consume is pure euphoria. The brisket dish is my favorite - fatty, but not TOO fatty, it melts in your mouth and the flavors have that distinct balance that reminds you that you're consuming a Bowien creation. Ride or Die B*tch plays as we polish off the honey habanero fried chicken.

Before leaving I hit the restroom, and while waiting in line I'm questioned by another patron on which items I ordered. I'm convinced this only happens here.

* I asked about the playlist - it was a NYE mix by the hostess. Happy New Year, indeed!

**Minus one star for service. The rest of the staff seemed on-point, but had our waiter visited us a few more times we definitely would have ordered more drinks - a lose-lose situation.

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