Mission Chinese’s Bushwick location opened last weekend inside the music venue Elsewhere. The new location uses lights and videos to showcase local modern art and owner Danny Bowein is known for his eclectic style and frequently collaborates with fashion, art, and music brands. He has also been accused of racial discrimination and wage theft by former employees.
The creative Szechuan inspired menu includes some Mission Chinese favorites like Green Tea Noodles and new dishes like Sourdough Naan ($12).
But the dish that may raise the most eyebrows is “Iced Szechuan Water Pickles,” which Eater NY tried this week: “It took me a while to realize what it was,” says critic Robert Sietsema, who dined at the new Bushwick location this week. “About two-thirds of the way through the meal, as it lay melting with neither of my guests touching it, it began to dawn on me, ‘Wait, this is just a bowl of ice.’”
The dish sells for $8.
Chef and Owner Danny Bowein included a picture of the dish in an Instagram post on October 25th, with the caption “testing testing 123,” so it’s not clear how long the dish will last.
It’s composed of ice topped with smoked habanero, caraway and hibiscus, and it’s not built to last very long. In a survey of Yelp reviews and Instagram posts from the new location, the Water Pickles are not a popular order but the naan, noodles and kung pao pastrami seem to be on every table. At the very least, check out the bathrooms which are Matrix themed and separated by the “red pill” vs. “the blue pill.”
Chef Bowein confirmed to Eater’s Restaurant Editor Hillary Dixler Canavan that: “The dish is a bowl of Napa cabbage, radish and hibiscus fermented in a water and salt brine, served with some of the pickling liquid and topped with pebble ice, tingling chili oil and aloe salt. It’s basically an interpretation of water kimchi and obviously we don’t sell ice for $8, as a matter of fact ice is free to anyone who requests it lol.”
On twitter, diners had conflicting reports as to whether their $8 water pickles contained more than just ice. Since it is an experiment according to the chef’s Instagram, multiple versions could have been served.
Photos courtesy of Danny Bowien Chinese
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