New York City: Chinese New Year

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The Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, was Saturday, January 28th. It’s the year of the Rooster. I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea what that means other than I know that the Chinese and much of Asia celebrate it so when our friend, Li, invited us to Sunday brunch, we gladly accepted.

We went to Hakkasan (311 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036), a UK based Cantonese style restaurant located near the theatre district. It happens to be her favorite dim sum spot in Manhattan and because of that, I was excited to give it a try.

The restaurant is very nice and it’s enormous, especially for New York City. The entrance is beautiful and really sets the stage for what is to come —fantastic food in a beautiful setting. While the restaurant was filled with families with young children, I wouldn’t say it’s kid friendly in the way that most of us think of it. There isn’t a kids menu and they don’t have high chairs or booster chairs. Luckily, we had a corner booth so we could keep Gianluca safely seated. Had we not, it would’ve been a nightmare trying to keep him from falling out of his chair or running around, possibly both.

This isn’t a dim sum restaurant but rather a full service restaurant that serves dim sum. You won’t find dim sum carts rolling between the tables so you have to order off the menu.  The menu is extensive and I noticed several set meals to choose from as well. We each ordered the dim sum brunch, which is exactly what we came for. What you get in return are 8 pieces of their best dim sum:
Scallop shumai
Prawn and Chinese chive dumplings
Har gau
Chilean sea bass daikon roll
Crispy prawn dumpling
Crispy duck roll
Truffle and roast duck bun
Stir-fry udon with duck in XO sauce
Selection of macarons for dessert

The standout items for me were the scallop shumai and the truffle and roast duck bun. I could eat a plate of each and would have been completely happy. Gianluca sampled a little of everything and seemed to like the truffle and roast duck bun the most.

In all honesty, the food is incredible but it’s incredibly expensive for dim sum considering the amount of food you receive. Does it change my perception of our meal? Not really. I’ve paid more for less at other places. Would I go back? Absolutely.

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