12/03/2012 04:06:00 PM

Hakkasan's Splashy SF Debut

By Meesha Halm
After a drought of high-end Chinese restaurants, San Francisco is suddenly rife with them. Whether it’s Chinese numerology or sheer coincidence, the city’s new outpost of the glitzy international chain Hakkasan (with branches in London, India, New York and Dubai), opens today in Downtown San Francisco on the same day and just blocks away from Martin Yan’s MY China which is also making its debut.

But unlike Yan’s family-friendly, post-shopping Westfield Centre perch, the scene at the new Hakkasan near Union Square is quite different. Although the latest outpost of the burgeoning chain lacks curb appeal (it’s tucked away on the 2nd floor of an historic office building), guests who step out of the elevator are transported into a 10,000-square-foot, 7 million dollar Vegas-like setting dominated by a pulsating 25-seat glowing blue-lit V-shaped bar flanked by two caged-in dining rooms that have been tricked out with chain’s signature Chinoiserie design, cushy upholstered booths and lattice wood dividers. The restaurant also features several private rooms for backroom wheeling and dealing plus a clubbier Ling Ling Lounge where internationally acclaimed DJ spin world and electronic beats.

Like other Hakkasan properties, the menu showcases classic modern Cantonese cuisine, including a broad selection of dim sum at lunch and weekend brunch and small selection at night, but at a decidedly lower price point. Chef Ho Chee Boon has also created a handful of new dishes specifically designed for the San Francisco audience such as braised Kurobuta pork belly with aged vinegar, jasmine tea-smoked beef short ribs and spicy braised squid. Additionally, the bar serves its own all-day and late-night food menu, along with an impressive slate of local and international wines and beer, premium sakes and a selection bepoke tea imported from Taiwan. Check out the lunch, dinner, drinks and bar menu.

Judging from the preview parties which attracted throngs of well-heeled business types and muckety-mucks (including former Mayor Willie Brown), Hakkasan is positioning itself to become both the new power lunch and late-night haunt in Downtown San Francisco.

Hakkasan: 1 Kearny St, 415-829-8148

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