Friday, December 9, 2016

Food Friday: "Only At" Hakkasan

Hakkasan San Francisco  1 Kearny Street

Modern Cantonese restaurant,  Hakkasan (yes, the one that moonlights as a club in Vegas) is celebrating 15 years since its first location in London opened, with a truly delicious experience - the "Only At" menu. At each of its 13 locations, the restaurants will serve their a unique twist on their classic menu, incorporating local ingredients and character. I was fortunate enough to experience the "Only At" San Francisco menu firsthand and lived to tell you about my night. We had 10 dishes and 7 cocktails - so much food that multiple to-go boxes were absolutely necessary.

The food - everything was exceptional, but of course there were some standout favorites. We started with the Maine Lobster Soup, which had enoki mushrooms and whisky. It was a fantastic start to the meal - I'm huge on seafood, so having lobster was a special treat. The soup does force you to get your hands a little dirty, so you if you're shy about playing with your food, perhaps save this one for another time.  Next up, we had the Crispy Duck Salad with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and shallots. I'm not terribly into duck, but this salad would be one to change my mind. Once tossed, the salad is an explosion of flavors upon each bite. To continue with the appetizers, we then had Szechuan style cold Pork Belly Rolls - I was super into these. As a huge fan of pork belly, believe me when I say I tossed a ton of these in my to-go box when everyone else was full. The final appetizer was my favorite - the Lamb Tenderloin with Mantou Buns. There's a secret to making these steamed buns, and I don't know what it is. When I do eventually learn the recipe, I'll save myself a ton of money. Steamed buns are my jam. Pairing them with lamb tenderloin is next level good.

Now, on to the mains! The first main was the Steamed California Silver Sea Perch with spicy lemon sauce. Of the 10 dishes we tried, this was my least favorite of the bunch. I'm not too crazy about white fish, which could be why this one didn't do it for me, but I have to say at the very least, the presentation was beautiful. The next dish, however, was my favorite of the entrees. We had the Sauteed Seafood in XO Sauce - simple, but damn delicious. The seafood was a mix of scallops and shrimps, and while they were great, the sauteed vegetables were amazing. I don't know what XO sauce is but I love it. Next up was the Hunan Duojiao steamed California Sea Prawns, which similar to the lobster soup, is a dish that requires you get your hands a little dirty. The nice thing is that the servers bring warm towels for your hands, so getting your hands covered in sauce is really no biggie. While I find steamed shrimp delicious, it's not my first pick when I'm going out to dinner, primarily because of the time it takes to take off the shell. But, if you're more of a patient eater than I am, than you'll enjoy this one. Finally, we ended our mains with Three-style Mushroom stir-fry with macadamia nuts, gai lan stalks and water chestnuts. I enjoyed the veggies in the sauteed seafood more so than  in this one, but to be honest, at this point I was hitting my limit. All dishes were served along side Egg and Scallion Fried Rice. And now, the final final item - dessert! For dessert, we had an Asian Pear Tart with chocolate-hazelnut cremeux, miso caramel and pear sorbet. I've never had an asian pear tart, but I've had many-a-asian pear in my lifetime. They're sweet and sour all at the same time and have a fantastic crunch to them. This tart was out of this world good - the flavor of the asian pear was so prominent and paired with the choco-hazelnut cream, it couldn't have been more delightful. Highly recommend, if you're into asian pears.

Special thanks to Hakkasan SF for treating me to such a marvelous experience. My first time at Hakkasan couldn't have been more perfect! 

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