LES Bites: Mission Chinese Brunch, Wassail in the Times, Mr. Taka’s Lighter Touch, New York Sushi Ko Reopens

Mission Chinese Instagram.

Mission Chinese Instagram.

Here’s a pre-holiday roundup of recent Lower East Side restaurant news:

Take a look at this handy illustration from Mission Chinese Food explaining their holiday hours. While Danny Bowien’s East Broadway restaurant will be closed this evening, brunch service will be offered tomorrow, Christmas Day. “Dim sum and (Black Seed) bagels (baked in the restaurant’s wood-fired ovens)” will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In fact, Mission Chinese is launching regular weekend brunch beginning this weekend. Bowien tells Metro, “We’re gonna have dim sum carts going around, but not with traditional dim sum… It’s gonna be Mission Chinese Food: little plates of mapo tofu, and scrambled egg and tapioca dumplings.”

Pete Wells is impressed with cider-specialist Wassail on Orchard Street, even though service can be spotty and the kitchen sometimes misfires. “I tended to be happiest,” he writes, “when I treated Wassail as a bar where the food is surprisingly interesting but cider, doing things I never expected it to do, carries the night. As a destination for exploring the nuances of the apple, Wassail is so exceptional that I don’t mind working around its occasional shortcomings as a restaurant.”

In the Village Voice, Zachary Feldman talks up Mr. Taka, the new ramen shop that opened at 170 Allen St. (in the former Tiengarden space.” It’s run by Takatoshi Nagara  Takayuki Watanabe, who are “part of a new wave of ramen chefs experimenting with lighter broths that express a variety of flavors beyond the standard animal bone, salt, and soy soups favored by nostalgists.”

New York Sushi Ko on Clinton Street was closed for about three months. Now owner John Daley has reopened the restaurant, taken on a new partner and is trying to be a bit more approachable. There’s now lunch service Tuesday-Saturday from 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. According to a press release, “the menu includes a house soba noodle and sushi roll special at $25, a chef’s upgrade that includes uni or toro for $40 and traditional omakase ranging from $50.00 – $100.00.”  Daley has lifted his ban on food photos during lunch.