The luxury Chinese restaurant chain Hakkasan opened the doors to its first ever New York outpost a little over two weeks ago. Located just one block north of Port Authority, the new restaurant is huge, club-like, and pricey with a sprawling layout, a DJ booth, and a menu by Ho Chee Boon (the chef behind the original Michelin star rated location in London) that features dishes with price tags ranging from $10 to $888. With five other locations already open in London, Miami, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Mumbai, the restaurant's reputation certainly preceded its highly anticipated arrival, but so far diners have mixed feelings about the food, the prices, and the decor. Take a look at what the early diners are saying ahead.
The Good News: A Chowhounder gives a detailed report of her dim sum brunch experience. Here are some of the highlights: "Prawn and Chinese Chive Dumpling ($8): Beautiful and delicate with a goji berry on top. The green-colored wrappers were a good thickness and steamed just right, the filling fresh and tasty. The quality was comparable to Chinatown Brasserie. Very good." And: "Baked Venison Puffs ($12): I remember reading somewhere that Hakkasan's Baked Venison Puffs are great. But I thought they're only all right. The venison taste was too subtle that I missed it entirely. I'm biased against baked puffs in general though and normally don't like them. Hakkasan's venison puffs didn't make me change my mind." And: "Seafood Dumpling with Chinese Yellow Chive Soup ($15): The presentation was... curious. The crescent-shaped dumpling was gigantic (4 inches long) and looked really bloated in the soup bowl. Ehh. But once I took a bite, I was pleasantly surprised by the tastiness. The filling consisted of scallop, crab, shrimp, and shiitake mushroom and was really umami-ful. The soup itself was also very flavorful and packed with umami." All in all, this Chowhounder was pleased: "Overall, a very good dim sum brunch. Everything was high quality and well-executed." [Chowhound]
More Good News: Another Chowhounder reports back on dinner: "Food was great and on par with its London counterpart. I don't know how it would be rated if it were in Hong Kong, where tons of great Chinese fine dining restaurants exist (Lung King Heen, Tin Lung Heen, Spring Moon, China Club, One Harbour Road, Cuisine Cuisine, Ming Court, Yan Toh Heen, etc... just to name a few), but it is definitely a shining star in New York's Chinese culinary scene. Subtle, light, and delicate." [Chowhound]
The Bad News: An Eater reader is less than impressed: "Went there tonight. Absolutely nothing special. Way too impressed with themselves!!! The staff had better get their act together or they will be another has-been real soon!!" [Eater Comments]
The Similar to Buddakan News: A Yelper gives a very thorough review of her meal: "I'm a big fan of Hakkasan having been to the one in Miami Beach many times before. The decor, and ambiance are really great. I loved the layout inside, the entrance is very cool, and the bar is nicely laid out. The place definitely has the wow factor going for it. I thought the food was well above average, and almost at the 5 star level. Everything we had was delicious. Some more than others, which I'll go into. Yes, the prices are ridiculous, but if you don't want to spend the money there are plenty of other alternatives. This is NYC after all. Small Plates: Duck w/ Mango: Awesome! The duck was perfectly cooked, and the mango was the perfect compliment. A must try in my book. Jasmine Tea Smoked Ribs: I'm a rib connoisseur. I'll travel an hour out of my way for good BBQ, and these were some of the best I've had anywhere. Now, are they going to compete with the best places Texas, or St. Louis have to offer? No, but they're as good as it gets around here....Braised Turbot & Pork Belly: At first glance I thought this would be my favorite dish, but it was a little underwhelming. The pork belly wasn't crispy enough, and the fish was just so so. Not a bad dish, but not my favorite. All in all this was a great experience. Very similar to Buddakan in both the scene, style, and quality of the food. I'll be coming back for sure." [Yelp]
The Way Too Expensive but Tasty News: Another Yelp reviewer was very unhappy by the high prices on the menu: "I really really wanted to like Hakassan, but I just don't for so many reasons. Things to like: Beautiful decor and great bar area, Great drinks, Food ***IF*** it was normally priced. Things to dislike: Price, Price, Price, SUPER arrogant server, Mausoleum-like entrance, Cubby-holed sections, Constantly being told by the staff that photo taking is not allowed (which induced everyone I came with to take even more photos!), Putting auto gratuity with out being told by staff, OVER-PRICED food, Did I mention the PRICE, And did I mention the OBNOXIOUS SERVER? Having said that, if i ignored the price for the food, and rated it just by taste, the food is pretty good. I would have given this place 4 stars if everything fell into place. Go for the bar and drinks. Skip the over-priced food and go to your local chinese place for food. Over all: Value for money, TERRIBLE" [Yelp]
The Good Dumplings News: And some Foursquare love: "The steamed dumplings. You must. Ask the sommelier to pair a good Riesling with it, you never knew wine could pair so well with chinese cuisine!" And: "Vegetarian Dim sum is delicious to start with. dumplings have really tender skins. Finish with the chocolate orange...not too sweet chocolate mousse balanced by a blood orange sorbet." [Foursquare]
— Claire Nugent