hubs and i weren’t particularly hungry last saturday evening (as we had been munching all day . . . ), but we managed to snag a reservation at the newly opened hakkasan and decided to go check it out. plus, i wanted to make sure we ate at the restaurant while chef ho chee bon, who lead the original hakkasan in london, oversaw the new york location.
i have to admit being a bit dismayed when i learned that the restaurant would be located in the time square area…not exactly one of my favorite places to traverse. fortunately, it’s on 43rd between 8/9th, which calms down significantly from the center of time square. the restaurant is large and done up in typical hakkasan style…it’s a somewhat sultry, somewhat dizzying warren of chinese lattices with golden mood lighting. i prefer my restaurants bright and clean, but i suppose a nod to shanghai opium dens of the 1920s works too.
so back to the matter of food. hubs and i ordered some of the lighter, home-style dishes on the menu. (no, we didn’t go for the $888 abalone dish or the $295 whole roast suckling pig.) we got an order of vegetarian dim sum (which was quite tasty…although i recall the skins of the dumplings being much thinner and finer in the london locations — perhaps the kitchen staff hasn’t had quite enough practice yet).
we also got a plate of string beans sautéed with minced pork and preserved veggies — which was quite tasty…
. . . a 3 cups chicken in stone pot dish…this dish is traditionally made with the chicken bone in tact, but they’ve removed all the bones. tasty too! and heavy with the garlic. . .
we also ordered some fried rice . . . not pictured . . .
last but not least…i thought their lemonade was worth a mention. they do something really interesting here…there are bits of fresh vanilla bean scraped into the lemonade! it adds a bit of vanilla creaminess to an otherwise acidic drink. probably my favorite part of the meal!
so i guess you’ll want to know if i liked it? it could use a few tweaks here and there. it’s much more expensive than typical chinese food in chinatown or flushing, but you get much better service and ambiance. arguably, some of the food is also a bit more refined. it’s not quite as good as the food in fine hong kong dining establishments (although in fairness — i’d need to go back and sample more dishes), but a helluva lot cheaper than flying half way around the world (well except if you were to order the abalone). more importantly, i’ve got reservations to take my mother there for mother’s day…so i suppose that’s saying something!
311 W 43rd Street (between 8th/9th)
New York, NY