If you're the type of high-roller who has grown bored of the Beverly Hills dining scene—one can eat at Bouchon and Spago so many times—you no doubt have been looking forward to the opening of Hakkasan, a high-end Cantonese restaurant that opened in London in 2001 and has since spread to several other cities across the globe. Its newest location opened in the 90210 in September, and it’s a sprawling, 10,000-square-foot space dimly hued in blue, perfumed in incense and outfitted with lattice panels, Chinese screens and smoked glass at every turn. The cumulative effect of all this ambiance is that you feel like you're eating in an upscale labyrinth, not that this is necessarily a bad thing. If you feel at home in this sort of opulence and this sort of crowd, you probably won't mind being trapped in a place where you have the option to order a whole roasted Peking duck topped with Tsar Nicoulai caviar for $288. Also for the duck-and-caviar crowd: A dim sum platter ($28) that includes black crab dumplings and scallop shumai delicately topped with roe, all beautifully arranged in a bamboo steamer. Consistent with other dishes here, you can taste the excellent ingredients, and it’ll more than satisfy. That you'll find better dim sum on the other side of town at Elite or Sea Harbour is beside the point.
Eat this: The highlight of the night may have been the crispy duck salad, served with generous amounts of meat, micro greens, pine nuts and pleasantly tart pomegranate seeds ($28). For those who love mabo tofu, the rendition here, made with silky tofu cubes, pickled vegetables and a trace of heat, is comforting ($22). Finally, don’t leave without getting dessert: Where most of the menu feels and tastes somewhat familiar, this part of your dinner will be much less so; try, for instance, the pistachio parfait ($12), which deconstructs the classic dessert with cassis sorbet and an excellent purple taro ice cream.
Drink this: Hakkasan’s drinks program is impressive. With 24 signature cocktails ($12-$17), 12 different sakes and 3,000 bottles of wine, you are bound to find something you like.
Where to sit: Thanks to the restaurant’s maze-like layout and strategically placed dividers and screens, almost every seat here feels intimate and cozy. That said, if you're just dropping in for a drink or two, snag seats amongst the other pretty folks at the bar or the lounge.
Conversation piece: The empire of Hakkasan includes restaurants in Mumbai, Shanghai, New York, Miami and Las Vegas. The Beverly Hills outpost is the company’s twelfth location.