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Mission Cantina

Pia Mileaf-Patel

$35 a person

Who would have thought that a taco with burrata and honey would taste so good? And not just good, in fact, incredible—something to rave about for two weeks on end. I definitely would not have predicted this, and was a little skeptical, but now, I find myself in the middle of a trig class remembering exactly how good the burrata tacos (one of many inspired creations at Mission Cantina) were.

            I went to Mission Cantina last month after a hungry search around the East Village with my friend Migs (what is a “Mig” you might ask? It’s a Margaret, but an extra cool one). We were initially told it would be a half hour wait, but some people ahead of us canceled and we were seated almost immediately.

            This was just on the cusp of fall, so the restaurant was open and sprawling out onto the sidewalk, with paper flags hanging and magenta lights, and a big mirror on one wall which truly does create the illusion that the restaurant is twice its size.

            Even though Mission Cantina was expanded to full capacity, the tables were close together (to the point that Migs and I and two German tourists shared a table for four, separated by about one inch of space). But as I tell my mother about my closet every day, there is an order to the chaos.

            We shared an appetizer and each got two tacos and it was a perfect amount of food.

            I had a fried jalepeño taco (which was very much like what I would imagine a jalepeño popper would taste like, smothered with cheese and pickled onions) and a slow smoked pastrami taco. They were not only original, but executed perfectly. It was the perfect balance of original ideas and actual good food that made the menu special rather than carnival-esque.

            Migs, who is a vegetarian, had avocado tacos, which were crispy tortillas with a mountain of ripe avocado and crumbled cheese.

            I can’t wait to go back and try everything on the menu. Even the tortillas themselves were delicious—dense and crisp on the outside. I was a little skeptical, as usually the sketchy, questionable restaurant has the best Mexican food, but Mission Cantina exceeded expectations—there is definite backup to the hype around it.