1 Kearny Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Summer 2016, We returned to Hakkasan for an expensive Dim Sum Lunch.
Hakkasan is a Trendy, Modern Chinese restaurant by famed London restauranteur Alan Yau. (London’s Cha Cha Moon, Yauatcha) and now owned by an Abu Dhabi group. He also co-founded UK Japanese Casual Darling – Wagamama.
The San Francisco location opened in late 2012. Having been to the London location, we couldn’t wait for a local branch. Hakkasan also has locations in Las Vegas, New York, Istanbul, Miami Beach, and more. Mr Yau’s goal was to create a Chinese Nobu with almost paradoxical Modern Authenticity. Sounds almost like Asian Fusion. We gave them 3 weeks before our visit for dinner.
Note: We asked them about dining restrictions and found that they are very conservative when you state you have allergies.
Decor, Vibe – Continuing London’s trend, another very stylish and hip restaurant with the lights low, lots of dark woods, accent lighting all over, music thumping. This has to be one of the most stylish Chinese restaurants we have ever been to in the San Francisco Area. Finally! The cool sexy design applies the bathrooms, if you can find them. Folks of all ages and races, well dressed, several big parties.
Hakkasan Menu Pictures (Click to zoom into any picture)
There are many items marked with their logo, indicating that they are signature dishes. We tried to stick to these items. Menus are pretty wide ranging although desserts are more Westernized.
Hakkasan Lunch Dim Sum Picks:
4 seasons Oolong Tea ($8) from Sanshi, Taipei, Taiwan is sold by the pot. They are pretty serious in their tea selection and brewing technique. Hakkasan does single flush tea steeping except when you order the Puer Ya.
Har Gau ($8) or shrimp dumplings consist of 3 medium sizes ones. The filling was ground up rather than being whole shrimp. Reasonable but not remarkable. Order the next one instead.
Prawn and Chinese chive dumpling ($7) are beautiful looking dumplings in a green wrapper. Better than the Har Gau.
Shanghai siew long bao ($8) had 3 large xiao long bao per order. Looked suspect, but proved to me decent with a solid amount of soup. Not authentic, too large and too much meat. What a name!
Roast duck pumpkin puff ($8) looked cute and actually tasted pretty good. Recommended by the waitress and us too.
Crispy silver cod with superior soy sauce ($29) was not what we expected but still proved to be worth ordering. Individually fried pieces of fish that came out tender and lightly battered.
Crispy duck salad ($28) with pomegranate, pine nut and shallot was more Californian than Cantonese. It is a signature dish and we recommend it too. Slight medicinal hints, heavily dressed in a sweet sauce, plus really good duck.
Truffle braised noodle with crabmeat and scallop ($30) was still a standout dish with lots of truffle essence and some thinly sliced scallop. The noodles appear to be thin rice noodles.
Egg and scallion fried rice ($8) provides good value with its large quantity. Use it to fill up on.
Sticky rice in lotus leaf ($6) with chicken and dried scallop was average at best. Mushy rice that is over steamed.
Pan-fried turnip cake ($6) with dried shrimp and Chinese sausage was fair. Turnips were out of season, so not a good bet this time of year. Also it was not steamed long enough.
Hakkasan Dinner Picks:
Green Destiny cocktail ($12) was a nice balanced drink, with a bit of cucumber and sweetness thrown in.
Hot and sour soup with chicken ($9) was surprisingly good. Robust flavors, good quality ingredients. Individual Portion.
Jasmine tea smoked beef short rib ($21) was one massive rib. Very tender, good flavors, but not very good value.
Pipa duck ($36) is basically Peking duck pre-sliced and ready-to-eat. Nice crispy skin, tender meat, juicy, definitely a must order. They need to include some buns or crepes with this.
Stir-fry black pepper beef ribeye with merlot ($30) contained some tender beef with fairly strong pepper flavor. Beautiful looking dish, good for beef fans but not spectacular.
Stir-fry lotus root, asparagus and lily bulb ($13) in black pepper was a perfectly crafted vegetable dish. Very fresh, and cooked just right. Great for vegetarians. They have several vegetable options.
Roasted silver cod with Champagne and Chinese honey sauce ($28) was deep fried to perfection. This is one must order dish here. Not a lot of quantity, but high on the quality scale.
Egg and scallion fried rice ($5) was simply excellent. Combination of fresh ingredients, and probably some butter. Need to order dishes like this or else the Bill will skyrocket even higher!
Truffle braised noodle with crabmeat and scallop ($29) was surprisingly a strong traditional Chinese dish, with some truffle added to modernize it. Nicely done.
PB&J ($10) Peanut Butter parfait, Concord grape jelly, banana and passion fruit sorbet was a stellar dessert. A dense mousse that tasted was almost like a Reese’s peanut butter cup.
Homemade sorbet ($8) consisted of 3 excellent scoops. Nice and balanced! We’ve had far too many tart sorbets.
Pink Mojito ($12) was okay, but had a little too much ice and subtle flavors.
Shredded duck and fish maw soup ($12) was decent but tasted like a subtle base for sharks fin soup.
Hakka steamed dim sum platter ($26) scallop shumai, har gau, Chinese chive dumpling and black pepper duck dumpling looked wonderful, but proved to be just okay. At this price we felt we needed something more. We suggest sticking to dim sum only at lunch.
Sweet and sour pork tenderloin with pomegranate seeds ($18) was highly recommended by the waiter, and hit the spot. The sauce was just a bit too sour.
Service – Hakkasan had very good service, with a knowledgeable waiter who helped guide us through the process. Lots of support staff kept everything flowing.
Value – Hakkasan is Expensive. We ended up spending probably $70 per person. Padding your meal with rice, noodles, and veggies is a must. Lunch has a much more economical with a $29 prix fixe menu, but Dinner exposes their cutting edge clubby atmosphere.
Alternatives – Restaurants similar to Hakkasan in the San Francisco Bay Area are few and far between. You may also like Mister Jiu’s. The best Chinese food can be had at Koi Palace, but you will not this level of service or refinement.
Verdict – Hakkasan met our high expectations with very good food, superb decor, and excellent service. There really isn’t a Chinese restaurant like this around here. I suspect most of the diners haven’t had a true Chinese dinner and are now getting exposed to new dishes. The expense account set, well heeled eaters, and those seeking a cool swanky restaurant have a new place to eat at.
4441 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33140
8 Hanway Place
London, W1T 1HD
020 7927 7000
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