Though chef Ho Chee Boon has said he's gunning for two Michelin stars at Hakkasan, Ho Chee Bauer gave middling marks to his meal at the chain's new SF location. The "intimidating and slightly pretentious" lobby and the uneven service rubbed him the wrong way, and the food is "generally fine, but some dishes aren't any better than you would get at a neighborhood dive." Even the steamer was broken, leading Bauer to muse, "How can a Chinese restaurant survive without a steamer?"
However, Bauer did dig the glam interior decor, and that, combined with a few standout dishes like prawns with lily buds and almonds, the duck salad, and the vegetarian dim sum platter, was enough to elevate Hakkasan's rating to a middling 2 stars. Considering that nearby M.Y. China only netted 2.5 stars last week, it seems Mr. Bauer isn't too pleased with SF's latest attempts at upscale Chinese dining, a desire he expressed in part by spending two paragraphs of his review longing for the halcyon days of Cecilia Chiang's Mandarin (which, we should note, changed ownership more than two decades ago, eventually closing in 2006). [Chron]