Miami Spice Hakkasan
Karen’s note August, 2016: For my top picks for Miami Spice 2016, click here.
I must admit it. I love Hakassan. So when there’s a deal as well — as in Miami Spice — it’s time for yet another visit ($39 per person plus tax and service). As you know from reading prior posts on Miami Spice, some leading restaurants “just do” the promotion, not showcasing their best — like a top steakhouse that just has a cheap cut of meat on the Spice menu, or a leading Italian restaurant offering a pedestrian pasta and chicken dish as the entrees. Not so with Hakkasan. Theirs is a five course menu with 9 different dishes that reflect the exciting spicy, savory and sweet flavors and varied textures that is their stock in trade.
But wait, let’s first talk about the decor for those of you who haven’t been there. The decor is described as “haute Chinois” with seating areas of romantic, welcome small spaces. And now for the food. After an appetizer of a green salad with pickled onion in plum dressing that I could eat every day, came the “small eats” — honey grilled pork, crispy wheat prawn which was expertly fried with a plump, fresh shrimp inside, and spicy and crispy shrimp dumpling. That was followed by three entrees, crispy chicken with tangy lemon sauce, wok fried spicy beef with green pepper that made me crave more, and a stir fried Shanghai bok choy with ginger oil. The bok choy was crisp and delectable with just the right amount of ginger. The entrees were served with a side bowl of steamed dried shrimp fried rice with taro, always a favorite.
Offered are optional wine flights, but we chose to do a food and cocktail pairing which I highly recommend, an exciting new experience. The very professional and delightful waiter suggested Bitter Fortune, tangy with its gin, Aperol, pink grapefruit and rhubarb juice and lime , in my book a novel replacement for a Bloody Mary for breakfast, and a Ginger Martini to accompany the small eats. Accompanying the entrees were a Far East Margarita made with tequila, lime, and infused with chilis and Serpent’s Tongue — bourbon, lemon and ginger. Lest you think we were challenged to drive home, we just sipped the cocktails which still gave us the thrilling taste sensations. Delicate desserts included a white chocolate panna cotta and mango custard.
The other big “plus” for me of going to Hakkasan is the people watching (or more accurately, the shoe watching) in the lobby and while waiting for your car at valet at the Fontainebleau Hotel. Mr. W. suggested that I not stare, but I couldn’t help myself. The people watching was downright delicious. The advertising tag line for Miami which in my book is brilliant, is it’s “So Miami”. Well, the Fontainebleau is just that and, as far as I’m concerned, a “must stop” for visitors to the city as well as local “foodies”.
Photo of cocktail by William Oberheiser