Michael Bauer Enjoys the Interior, Less So the Food, at Hakkasan

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The bar at Hakkasan. Photo: Courtesy of Hakkasan

Mr. Bauer's thoughts on the swanky new downtown Chinese spot Hakkasan (One Kearny Street) arrived in Sunday's paper, and they're not all that positive. He appreciates the luxurious setting and the ascent to the second-floor dining room, which begs comparisons to Cecilia Chiang's long shuttered Mandarin at Ghirardelli Square. But he finds "obsequious" but "uneven" service, a Vegas-y air about the place, and food that is "generally fine, but [not] any better than you would get at a neighborhood dive," and at four times the price. He loves a dish of prawns with lily buds, almonds, and a green Thai curry-like sauce; a few of the tofu dishes; and a $28 duck salad. But he says the Hakka noodles are "drowned in a slick of oil that recalls Panda Express," and he has a few meat dishes that are less than stellar. All told: a so-so two stars overall, with one and a half for food. [Chron, Earlier slideshow]