Hakkasan Finds Key To Upscale Chinese Is Heightening Classics

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In every vaccine, there is a little bit of the virus. In the world of upscale ethnic cuisines, particularly one like Chinese Food that we’ve grown so comfortable with as Americans and New Yorkers, success requires a little bit of what we know to expect. Hakkasan New York, the upscale Chinese restaurant in the theatre district, now celebrating its Golden Week menu, does just that—and with a delicious success rate. The unique menu, in collaboration between two Michelin-starred chefs, Hakkasan Executive Head Chef Tong Chee Hwee and StreetXO Executive Chef David Muñoz, finds a great balance between elevated Chinese cuisine, and a nuanced eating experience.

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The city is seeing a lot more modern food openings lately. These restaurants taking on cuisines we love as New Yorkers and adding the authentic appeal we think would be a great addition. For instance, other restaurants approach the cuisine from other angles—and may not be what it seems—for nowhere on the menu do the beef and turnip cakes go down as delicious, if unhealthy, as the delivered-at-midnight pint of fried rice we’ve come to cherish. Hakkasan has been bringing the city a new side of Chinese since 2012, with plenty of time to render, master, and update its menu and offerings, the exclusive Golden Week menu being the latest iteration.

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For their Golden Week menu, celebrating a week in China designed to give people a chance to go out to eat, shop, and entertain themselves to re stimulate the economy, Hakkasan launched a brief but delicious tasting menu of three courses that tastes wonderful, refined, and set in a chic dining room without losing the flavor and character of Chinese food we love.

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Hakkasan feels perfect for the area—an elegant room with a clear design to reflect the cuisine, though dimly lit to give the feeling of being in-the-know while eating here. The meal starts of with a signature cocktail, a mix of spirits and Chinese 5spice, topped with a wonton cracker over crushed ice.

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The small plate courses are a series of dumplings: soft shell crab, lamb, and Spanish tortilla. While they’re plated beautifully and carefully decorated with features like a crab claw, a pepper slice, or hardened finishing, they still reflect the same taste we hope for when the dish is brought to the table. While I love popping the plastic off the top of the delivered Tupperware as much as anybody, this is clearly enhanced eating.

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Main courses are built in front of the table, the fried rice having the egg mixed in by the staff before separating into individual bowls, and the steak and gnocchi stir-fry being mixed accordingly. One of the best parts about this elevated Chinese menu, much like Americanized Chinese food, is that the restaurant’s chef isn’t afraid of breaking tradition and bringing in ingredients like gnocchi where it will improve a dish, just because of gnocchi’s heritage. This is 43rd and 8th, one need only step outside to see the biggest amalgamation of cultures possible.

Hakkasan makes its mark in its showmanship. These dishes are unique and delicious on their own. While I the average take-out Chinese restaurant in New York have lamb dumplings, the thing that makes them great isn’t really their difference in flavor, but rather their similar taste while being presented in a heightened way. For anyone who loves ordering in Chinese and Netflix, but wants to do some with a heightened palate, I suggest an evening at Hakkasan and a Broadway show to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

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