This week might be just another week to you, but on the other side of the world, China is gearing up for their big New Year's celebration this Friday, January 31.
To welcome the year of the horse, Hakkasanis offering a special family-style, prix-fixe menu for $128 per person all week. On Friday, a traditional Dragon Dance (or lantern festival) will will begin at Bleau Bar at 9:30 p.m. and end at the restaurant.
Short Order was invited to sample the menu offerings and celebrate the Chinese New Year a bit early. Check out the pictures after the jump.
Hakkasan chef de cuisine Jian Heng Loo, or Kenny, honed his craft over a span of 20 years throughout Asia. Originally from Malaysia, Loo has worked at prestigious restaurants including at the Capella Singapore and G Hotel in Malaysia. At Hakkasan, although the main focus is contemporary Chinese food, Chinese New Year means tradition, and so Kenny has created a very special menu.
The menu starts off with a salad. While that may sound boring and unexciting, it was the best dish of the night. Our server delivered the greens and protein separately. He slathered a sour plum dressing over the salmon yusheng -- raw fish salad -- and then transferred it on top of the greens. "Would you like me toss this for you?" he asked.
Our answer was no, mainly because we needed a photo of this gorgeous dish. It featured pomegranate, mango, crispy taro and lotus, carrots, sesame, and glazed peanuts. Each ingredient brought something different to the table, both in flavor and texture.
There was only one appetizer to share, but that was because the menu included three entrees. Served in individual portions, the braised Mexican abalone with stuffed cucumber in oyster sauce was paired with veggies -- a beautifully grilled mushroom and gorgeous bok choy. This dish almost looked too pretty to eat. (Almost.)
No Chinese dinner is complete without dumplings -- especially one of a New Year. Jiaozi boiled scallops and Chinese chicken chive dumplings were fluffy and delicious.
After the dumplings, we thought this might not be enough food, since everything had been light up to this point. Then the braised whole duck arrived at our table. Stuffed with "eight treasures" and cooked for an hour with lotus leaf, our server tore it open for us and drizzled the soy and oyster reduction on top. In case you want more, there's a whole bowl of sauce for dipping.
The funnest part was scavenging for the treasures in the stuffing and figuring out what those were. They were mushrooms!
Just when we thought it was all over, the most important part of the meal arrived -- 'Long Life' crispy noodles. They are a must for every Chinese New Year, since noodles represent longevity in life. It is believed the more you eat, the longer you will live.
These looked like a tunnel of love. They come with directions too. You crunch them down and break them, allowing them to soak in the sauce and become tender, then you eat them. The cooked quail eggs are not to be neglected either.
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For dessert, there was an Osmanthus pear jelly with bits of strawberry, red date sorbet, and white chocolate mochi with chocolate inside.
Hakkasan's special family-style, prix-fixe Chinese New Year menu for $128 per person runs all week through Friday, February 1. The Dragon Dance will take place on Friday, February 1, at 9:30 p.m., beginning at Bleau Bar. Reservations are suggested
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha