Shitshows, like the problem children of bad parents, come in many shapes and sizes. If Hakkasan is like a misfit one stolen pack of Watermelon Bubblicious away from juvie, it isn't obviously so, like it is at Dans Le Noir, a restaurant that traffics in menace. It isn't particularly notable either, like the once-in-a-generation shitshow that was Kobe Club, home of the Baked Alaska heard 'round the world. And it isn't plainly preposterous in all regards the way Crossbar was (and Chateau Cherbuliez is).
The journey at Hakkasan begins with an enormous door, a standard issue restaurant antechamber, another less enormous door and a walk down a long, marble-lined hallway, which leads to, in order of appearance, a coat check, the rest rooms and a double-wide host stand. There are gold foil-covered business cards on the counter of the coat check. It feels expensive in the wrong way, but bad taste in and of itself does not a shitshow make.
So, let's talk tacheles. Hakkasan has a DJ booth, for one. Also, custom metal spoon holders with ornamental spoons at every place setting (pic); said laser light show business cards; said double-wide host stand; a completely ridiculous 7' tall display case for Johnnie Walker Blue Label and other pricey brown booze; flowers contorted for effect in the rest rooms (pic); water pitchers that don't really work (ice clogs the spout); a useless website; circus plating concepts (pic); a per-dumpling price point of $6 and an all-in well above $250 for two; and those crazy round ice cubes that scream, You are about to pay double. Kanpai!
And, textbook shitshow service issues, like appetizers that arrive in what feels like seconds and drinks that arrive in what feels like days. Upon being seated, menus were opened and presented with great fanfare and one person at the table found his menu opened to a blank page. That was fun.
But, friends, desserts are actually quite good and the menu is strewn with crowd-pleasers like the stir-fry mushroom lettuce wraps and sapai seabass, and these dishes do eventually arrive. Though the crowd wasn't USDA grade-A by a margin, the gargantuan rooms were not empty. Plus, no sparklers, schizophrenia, nothing particularly ludicrous about the concept. You see where this is going.
Hakkasan is just a restaurant that's trying as hard as humanly possible, like a guy with a pink popped collar polo driving his Audi R8 with the top down. It's not a shitshow, no, but best that you steer clear nonetheless.
· All Coverage of Hakkasan [~ENY~]
· All Coverage of Shitshow Week [~ENY~]