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Dec 3, 2012 07:11 PM

Hakkasan San Francisco opens today (link) Any reports?

Hakkasan opened a branch in SF. It's early but anyone try it? Anyone been to other branches?

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  1. If they did open the first customers haven't had a chance to finish dinner yet.

    1. I can provide a Day 2 report. Someone from LA who loves Hakkasan in London, isn't price sensitive, and likes to order a lot of food took us out to dinner there last night. Here's what we had (I just checked the online menu to be sure) and my impressions. It's a very long report because our host ordered so many dishes.

      Cocktail: Lychee martini. I worried that it might be too sweet, but it was well balanced. This was the strongest item of the night.

      --Steamed dim sum platter/fried dim sum platter: No threats to dim sum already available in SF (I'm a fan of Yank Sing, although I know not everyone on this board agrees with me). The steamed dim sum was bland and the wrappings somewhat thick and a little gummy. The fried items included cylindrical scallops; small, empanada-like shrimp; and something called a roasted duck and pumpkin puff. All were a little pale, and I ended up trying only the duck/pumpkin puff. It didn't really taste of either ingredient but had a reasonably pleasant texture. I asked someone else at the table what she thought about the shrimp item, and she said it just tasted fried.
      --Pan-seared Shanghai dumpling: Like a potsticker. More flavorful than other dishes because it included scallions.
      --Crispy duck roll: Crisp, a little greasy. Bland.
      --Sesame prawn toast: Looked like a large, sesame-covered meatball. One of the better starters because the sesame added flavor.

      Main Dishes
      --Halibut claypot: Simple in taste and appearance. Only by looking at the menu now do I see that it included salted plums. Perhaps those were what looked and tasted like cherry tomatoes? Fresher seeming than many of the other dishes, yet most of this went uneaten by the group.
      --Stir-fry lobster with tomato-chili sauce and cashews: There was lobster. There were cashews. Surprised to see there was tomato-chili sauce.
      --Roast chicken in satay sauce: A more flavorful dish. As promised, this tasted like satay. The chicken was tender. But isn't Hakkasan supposed to be Chinese?
      --Sweet and sour pork tenderloin with pomegranate seeds: A more refined version of the sweet and sour pork of my childhood because the pork was thinner and leaner. Others at the table, including our host, loved it, but I may be too much of a food snob to truly enjoy sweet and sour pork. Plus it was too sweet. And where were the pomegranate seeds?
      --Lamb chops with XO barbecue sauce: I didn't try these, though others liked them. I'm not a big fan of lamb, and the appearance of this dish didn't lead me to reconsider.
      --Two vegetable dishes; Mushrooms with macadamia nuts/stir-fried snap peas, cloud ear, and water chestnuts: I really wanted vegetables to be part of this meal (the mushrooms were my only request of the night), but these were boring and boring. Shiny and bland. The macadamia nuts added a little texture.
      --Chicken fried rice with salted fish: Our server's recommendation, and one of the best dishes because it had some flavor.
      --Lobster with noodles: Only okay. The lobster was awkward to eat with chopsticks because it was still partly in the shell and the server portions a piece with the noodles into small bowls. The lobster was fine (it's lobster), but neither the green noodles or the sauce had much flavor.

      --Chocolate orange; Our server's favorite but not mine. The presentation was interesting--an orange-shaped chocolate ball and some other things that I never fully identified. She poured a thick chocolate sauce over the ball when it arrived at our table. Too much chocolate on chocolate for my taste..
      --Coconut pudding: Presented in a large glass like a stemless wine glass with a dried pineapple slice draped on top. Tapioca pearls with coconut milk pudding. Not bad and lighter than the other desserts.
      --Apple tatin: Their take on apple tarte tatin? A gold/brown rectangle with a scoop of something else next to it. Okay.
      --PB&J: The dessert that appealed to me the least in theory but the most flavorful of the bunch. A cylinder of (frozen?) mousse that wasn't overwhelming in its peanut butter flavor, a banana half, and a couple of other things I didn't identify. When I'd heard jelly, I'd feared grape; banana worked.
      --Macaroons: Looked like French macaroons and were described as yuzu, blood orange, salted caramel, and jasmine tea. I tried yuzu. I love French macaroons, but this was more like filled meringue. Our host wasn't impressed by these either.

      The room wasn't as dramatic or dazzling as I'd expected. The crowd seemed to be on the younger side. The service was friendly, with everyone eager to please, which I hadn't expected from a hot new high-end restaurant. For me, that and the cocktail were the highlights. I'd eat and spend my own money elsewhere.

      2 Replies
      1. re: amydeastbay

        Thanks for the report. Since your friend has eaten at Hakkasan in London, can you comment on whether he thought the food (which from your description sounds lackluster at best) is comparable?

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I've been to the ones in London and NY, and just went to the one in SF. I'd say that the decor of the SF restaurant is almost identical to the one in NY, but the food quality is similar to the one in London -- meaning significantly better than the one in NY.

          We had:
          1) Shanghai dumpling (steamed) -- very good. I like the ones at Yank Sing better, because the skins are slightly thinner. But flavorful and good amount of liquid

          2) Chive dumpling -- really flavorful, probably the best dumpling of the set

          3) XO Scallop dumpling -- not bad, but probably the least good dumpling. XO sauce was flavorful but could barely notice the scallop.

          4) Shrimp dumpling -- flavorful, nice skin, well-proportioned.

          5) Pipa duck -- butterflied duck breast, with crispy skin, served over hoisin sauce. Really flavorful. Felt relatively healthy due to a lot of the fat being removed.

          6) Hakka noodle with mushroom and Chinese chive -- again really flavorful and great texture.

          7) Choi sum -- was fine.

          8) Coconut pudding -- one of the best desserts I've had in a long time. Very light -- coconut with some tapioca pearls, went very well with grilled pineapple chunks. It tastes and looks much better than it probably sounds. Very nice presentation

          9) Chocolate orange -- nice combination of flavors. With a side of gianduja ice cream

          Came out to a little over $200 with tip for 3 people. It's more expensive than Yank Sing. I think Yank Sing has more variety, but the dishes at Hakkasan were expertly prepared. The decor is significantly more modern and would be good for a change of pace.

      2. I read they have a M-F Prix-fixe lunch $29. I hope someone can review it.

        Website doesn't mention it:

        1 Reply
        1. re: hhc

          We concentrated more on dinner... We've been to the London location previously. Abu Dhabi group owns this place.

          Interesting they have 4.5 stars on yelp with a bunch of pre opening 5 stars..
          This place is freaking way expensive, doubt those yelpers would give 5 stars if they had to pay $90 a person!

          Blog post with pics

          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.

          There are many items marked with their logo, indicating that they are signature dishes. We tried to stick to these items.

          Overall there was some superb food that meshed well with this cutting edge atmosphere. We 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.

          Green Destiny cocktail ($12) was a nice balanced drink, with a bit of cucumber and sweetness thrown in.

          Hot and sour soup with chicken ($8) was surprisingly good. Robust flavors, good quality ingredients.

          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 presliced 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 ($28) contained some tender beef with fairly strong pepper flavor. Beautiful looking dish, good for beef fans.

          Stir-fry lotus root, asparagus and lily bulb ($12) with black pepper was a perfectly crafted vegetable dish. Very fresh, and cooked just right.

          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. 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 Resses peanut butter cup.

          Homemade sorbet ($8) consisted of 3 excellent scoops. Nice and balanced, we've had far too many tart sorbets.

          OK stuff:
          Pink Mojito ($12), Shredded duck and fish maw soup ($12),
          Hakka steamed dim sum platter ($26), Sweet and sour pork tenderloin with pomegranate seeds ($18)

        2. I've had this for a few days, didn't realize no one had posted it before.

          Marcia Gagliardi of Tablehopper gave a short review of Hakkasan in her Aug 14th newsletter:

          1. The braised beef cheek w/ chestnuts and daikon is tender and unctuous and comes with plenty of fatty skin and gelatin in the grand tradition of dishes like ti-pang or dongpo rou in a very rich red-cooked reduction. Compared to a lot of other items on their menu (duck, dimsum etc) this is actually a good value at $24.