Hot Pot Buffet is a restaurant in Chinatown that isn’t actually a buffet, but it is all you can eat and a fun and unusual concept. For $23, you can choose anything you want from an extensive list of seafood, meat, vegetables, dumplings, and noodles. You sit around a large counter (sort of community style) and cook everything yourself in a pot of broth (the broth is $2 more), and if at the end you’re still hungry or didn’t like what you ordered you just get more!
Some of the ingredients were hit or miss, but at a place like this, that wasn’t a problem. I ate what I liked, skipped what I didn’t, and then ordered a second round of new things to try. Here is a quick recap of what ordered:
Whole crabs: These were by far my favorite, and after looking around at people’s plates (and chatting with some of the regulars) this seemed to be the consensus.
King Crab legs: Precooked and frozen; edible but not great.
Rib eye: Very good and sliced thin, so it only took few seconds to cook. A little fatty, but this is the nature of the cut and it wasn’t any more so than normal (though nex t time I might try sirloin).
Whole Shrimp: These tasted good, but I was a little freaked out when I cut into one of the heads. Not a good idea if you’re at all squeamish.
Littleneck clams: These were good, fresh, and another of my favorites.
Bok Choy: fresh, and a very generous portion
Taro: I wasn’t crazy about this, but I’ve only ever had it fried.
Spinach noodles, fried tofu, shrimp dumplings: These were all premade and somewhat generic, but tasted good in the broth.
Although I wasn’t crazy about everything I ordered, the food overall was very good. I loved the concept and experience, and I will definitely be back.