The Hakkasan Group is no stranger to a certain amount of controversy. The vibrant modern Chinese restaurants can now be found in New York, San Francisco, Abu Dhabi and London, among others, with each catering to the high-end set. That can sometimes bring trouble, particularly at the popular Las Vegas outpost, where a recent controversy erupted over just how... ahem... large they wanted their customers to be.
Still, the Beverly Hills outpost has been nothing if not welcomed to the neighborhood, where routine sightings of gorgeous people and a full reservation book lend to the feel of exclusivity. And while not everyone digs the prices, there's no doubt that this flashy destination draws crowds. Here's the Good News/Bad News on Hakkasan Beverly Hills.
A Plus for the Cocktails: Drinks are, predictably, a big part of Hakkasan's draw. And thankfully, they don't seem to disappoint.
- "In my limited experience, I’ve really enjoyed the cocktail program (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). The drinks are colorful, playful and flavorful, and I like the Asian influences." [Darin Dines]
- "The cocktail program is nothing if not theatrical, with a "smoky negroni" that arrives in a huge stoppered carafe full of smoke. A server pours it out over a large spherical ice cube as you oooh and ahhh." [LA Weekly]
- "One of the drinks unique to the Beverly Hills location is the Jing Jiu. Although a tiny bit sweet, I loved this cocktail and the dragon fruit garnish. It’s very elegant." [The Minty]
- "Not only does Hakkasan Beverly Hills have an extensive wine program (3,000 bottles) with two sommeliers on the floor at all times, an elaborate sake program (12 different sakes), and low-calorie cocktails, but there’s also a cocktail program by L.A. barman Armando Conway (La Descarga, Abbey, Harvard & Stone)." [LA Mag]
Kitchen Woes: Not everyone loves the refined Cantonese food at Hakkasan, though.
- "The menu is so limited, the food isn't unique, tasty or special except for the price." [TripAdvisor]
- "We also ordered brown rice to accompany these dishes. Mushy and way overcooked, I was surprised it came out of this kitchen... With the level of cooking coming out of this kitchen I was shocked to see the most basic of items overcooked." [Darin Dines]
- "Other than the duck salad, the food was awful. It is hard to believe that their spongy pepper beef was quality meat, and the sauce on their equally spongy snapper was extraordinarily spicy. I would be amazed if Hakkasan survives much longer if the food isn't dramatically improved." [OpenTable]
Loving the Look: Regardless of clientele or price, nearly everyone digs the look here.
- A "posh space that's dominated by soft lighting and polished wood." [Zagat]
- "The mega-size Beverly Hills branch experienced a redesign to recall the London outpost, affecting its entrance and interior, and expanding the blue-lit-bar area." [Gayot]
- "The restaurant itself is a maze of elaborately decorated rooms separated by patterned wood panels." [LA Times]
Ladies Night: The clubby atmosphere means female servers and hostesses with a distinctly Vegas vibe -- and skin-tight clothing to match.
- "The female servers weave in and out of the rooms, all wearing mascara for days and tight mini dresses." [LA Times]
- "A woman dressed in her restaurant uniform -- in this case, a tight black lace dress with a plunging neckline -- will most likely heave the (front) door open for you." [LA Weekly]
- "We were greeted by no less than six pretty hostesses--all dressed to the nines like they were off to a club in Vegas." [Yelp]
- "Good place for older men to bring younger women to try and impress them. LA specializes in these types of joints." [Yelp]
Competing Vibes: Depending on your disposition (or bank account) you'll either love, or hate, the vibe at Hakkasan.
- "My understanding of Hakkasan is it's more of a lounge than a restaurant. So $288 for that Peking duck might not be so bad if you're about to open up an Ace of Spades magnum with your agent." [Chow]
- "Our new posh Chinese restaurant in Beverly Hills is being financed by oil money from a tiny Arab kingdom in the Middle East... We here in Los Angeles shall enjoy the benefits of that wealth to dine in luxury on Asiatic specialties with medium-high price tags." [Huffington Post]
- "Hakkasan is a overpriced PF Changs or should i say is a glamourized Panda Express. another wannabe spot with tacky waiters." [Yelp]
A Dim Sum Price Comparison: When in Beverly Hills, expect to pay Beverly Hills prices.
- "Of course, there's the elephant in the room... Today's lunch for 2 totaled $110 including tip. A comparable meal at Sea Harbour might be $45, a typical dim sum meal at Ocean Star maybe $25." [Chow]
- "I think the issues here will largely stem from two places: cost and atmosphere. The price of dinner came to about $170 a head all-in, making it the most expensive Chinese meal I've had I'm sure." [KevinEats]