Mission Chinese Food is one of the most renowned and reviewed restaurants in San Francisco. And, of course, with its distinctive, semi-authentic recreations amped up to 11 with chili oil, it's often reviewed by the most professional of food critics with their refined palates. But why get your information from a professional, when you can go straight to the purest source: the post-bite facial expressions of a four-year-old. What this kind of review lacks in worldly eloquence it makes up for in TRUTH. I took the young Desmond Applegren to dine with me and captured his first reactions to five dishes recommended by the waiter. The results were very boring and definitely not cute at all. (Kidding! They were the best!)
DISH ONE: Thrice Cooked Bacon
Shanghainese rice cakes, bitter melon, tofu skin, chili oil
This boy cuts to the chase and doesn’t need adjectives mudding up his critique. And really, it DID taste like bacon, what more do you need to know?
DISH TWO Salt Cod Fried Rice
Mackerel confit, Chinese sausage, lettuce, egg.
This was by far Desmond's favorite dish. He kept reaching for the plate even as new dishes arrived, and politely asked if he could have it for dinner “all the time.”
DISH THREE Tea-Smoked Eel
Fresh rice noodle, Chinese celery, salted plum hoisin sauce, braised pork, cognac soy
The fanciest looking of all the choices, and the hardest to eat. While Desmond didn’t not like it, he only took one bite and didn’t go back for more.
DISH FOUR Egg Noodle
Soft hen egg, ginger, scallion
And man, did he ever! Furiously poking at the yolk was much more fun that, you know, chewing and swallowing, although he did enjoy doing that as well.
DISH FIVE Tiki Pork Belly
Soy caramel, mandarin orange, pickled pineapple, shaved coconut, macadamia nuts
Clearly, Desmond’d poker face has yet to develop. If you can’t tell from the photos, he DID NOT LIKE this dish; so much so that he resorted to frantically wiping off his tongue with a napkin.