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'Chinese Nobu' Restaurant Hakkasan Coming to Hell's Kitchen

By DNAinfo Staff on February 9, 2011 12:24pm

By Tara Kyle

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

HELL'S KITCHEN — A high-end Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant is on its way to New York this fall.

London-based Hakkasan, which Chief Operating Officer Didier Souillat described as a "destination restaurant" and a Chinese equivalent of Japanese hotspot Nobu, is slated to debut at 311 W. 43rd St. in November.

Souillat appeared before Community Board 4's liquor licensing committee for Hell's Kitchen Tuesday night, seeking support for the 250-seat eatery. The committee agreed to recommend approval, provided that the operators control traffic outside the restaurant.

Hakkasan earned its Michelin star at its original eatery along London's Hanway Place in 2004. Since then, the brand has expanded to a second London location, Miami and Abu Dhabi. Later this year, restaurants will also open in Mumbai and Dubai.

The block that will host Hakkasan, stretching between Eighth and Ninth avenues, isn't Midtown's most wholesome, neighbor Wilmer Hernandez said at Tuesday's meeting.

Hernandez, a resident of 323 West 43rd St., initially expressed opposition to the project. He said he feared that the noise from a big restaurant would exacerbate already "horrendous" condition on the block, including oil spills from heavy traffic and nighttime revelers who use his building as a urinal.

Souillat, however, argued that Hakkasan's upscale operation — dinners average over $100 a head — could help improve the area, as it did on Hanway Place in London.

"This is going to be much better than a nightclub," CB4 committee co-chair Chuck Spence told Hernandez.

Hakkasan will appear before CB4's full board on Wed., March 2.