311 W. 43rd St.
Michelin-starred Hakkasan is an elegant oasis in the hubbub of Times Square. This is one of several Hakkasans that can be found in world capitals, including the flagship in London. International Development Chef Ho Chee Boon gives a modern flair to very traditional Cantonese cuisine. Hakkasan is big and bold yet it retains the special grace of traditional Asian hospitality. There are several small dining rooms, separated by wooden latticework, and the Ling Ling lounge, with a hypnotic moving-image backdrop behind the long bar, is a place to enjoy a Hakka, a tall cocktail made of vodka, sake, coconut, passion fruit, and lychee.
Hakkasan is dim sum heaven and you can make a selection from the “small eat” section of the menu—at dinner they offer baskets in 3 options, hakka steamed dim sum, vegetarian steamed dim sum, or fried dim sum platter; the full dim sum menu is available seven days a week lunch/brunch—so order a basket of eight plump and delicious steamed dumplings. Dim sum means “touch the heart” in China, where it began as a snack to have after work with tea, just to stave off hunger. (You can do the same here for there is a wide selection of Chinese tea.) Dim sum selections include scallop shumai, prawn and Chinese chive, black pepper duck, and more. Peking duck is taken seriously and prepared in a traditional oven that was brought over from (Hong Kong) China. You can order a superb whole Peking duck with rare Kaluga caviar and XO sauce for $275, or for considerably less, without caviar for $88. Try the tasty Crispy Duck Salad with pomelo, pine nut and shallot in a tangy citrus and pomegranate dressing.
A wonderful fresh Coconut Pudding topped with a slice of caramelized spiced pineapple seems too beautiful to eat. But dig in for delicious cubes of lime spongecake, coconut, and a scoop of coconut sorbet. Lunch daily 11:30am to 3pm; dinner Sunday, 5:30-10pm, Monday to Wednesday, 5:30 to 11pm; Thursday to Saturday until midnight. -- Marian Betancourt
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