Manhattan – Lower East Side
172 Orchard St. (at Stanton St.)
Manhattan, NY 10002
Danny Bowien's Mission Cantina is not your normal taqueria, though Bowien does make tacos. Flavors are bold and experimental: beef tongue with charred onions and peanuts, for instance, or confit pork shoulder with crispy jowl and pork cracklings. There are chips and salsa, but they're thick, housemade corn chips and the salsa is tangy chili vinegar. Guacamole comes with shrimp chips. The place doesn't have a full liquor license—or a sit-down bar—so instead of margaritas there's beer and beer concoctions like the cantina michelada, with lime, Worcestershire, hot sauce and a bacon rim. The windowed corner space is raffish, with an open kitchen, colorful Mexican paper cutouts fluttering from the ceiling and roughly 40 seats filled with a young crowd.
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