Since I had dim sum lunch at both the Hakkasan locations in New York and Beverly Hills within a three week period, I thought that would be a good opportunity to put forth some combined thoughts. Hakkasan serves far and away the best dim sum in New York, Manhattan or otherwise. The reason is simple. While we here in Los Angeles have been able to experience the new wave of more delicate, innovative dim sum (think Sea Harbour et al) for a dozen years now, that trend largely bypassed New York until Hakkasan's opening last year. Quality of the two locations is identical, with the one overlapping item I ate at the two locations (shrimp ball with sesame seed coating) having the same taste, aside from the fact that the New York version had a foie gras filling and cost a lot more. Other items sampled in Beverly Hills were truffle bean curd rolls, bamboo pith carrot dumpling, XO scallop dumpling, duck rolls, dry scallop dumpling, Shanghai vegetable dumpling and the seabass daikon roll. Everything was quite good, particularly the bamboo pith dumpling. Wrappers were all excellent. One minus for the Beverly Hills location is that they do not have the pumpkin rolls which ipsedixit and I considered the best item in New York in our separate visits, nor do they have the combination dim sum platter. A slight minus is the similar taste of a couple of the items that shouldn't be similar.
Comparatively I would rate Hakkasan a bit below Sea Harbour, Elite, Lunasia and King Hua, but which still puts it in the top 10 in the US. Of course, there's the elephant in the room so I'll address it now. 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. So while the quality is there at Hakkasan, the value isn't. Or not until gasoline hits $20 a gallon.