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Jan 28, 2007 06:18 AM

Hot Pot -- best place for the spicy version?

the kind where you can have the cauldron split into a spicy broth and a mild broth...does Wu Liang Ye serve it?...anywhere recommended?...on these frigid days it seems the perfect thing to venture out for...

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  1. p.s. a couple years ago i had it at the Lexington/39th St. branch of Wu Liang Ye -- the food was good but the atmosphere and service there were pretty grim at the time...

      1. the grand sichuan in chinatown serves it...its decent, but nothing special

        1. In Manhattan, the Grand Sichuan on Lexington between 33 and 34th has a nice version. It is not on their regular menu, you may have to ask for the hot pot or huo guo menu if they don't being it to you at first.

          The busier branches of Grand Sichuan (Chelsea and midtown) do not have it because the dish is too labor intensive for those branches.

          In Flushing, in addition to those places in the link, there is a Shanghai restaurant that has a sign advertising Shanghai-style huoguo / hotpot in the window, located on one of those streets east of Main, maybe 40th (it is not Shanghai Tide, it's farther off Main).

          But since you specifically asked for spicy, your best bets for Sichuan-style in Manhattan is probably Grand Sichuan on Lex between 33 and 34th, and in Flushing, Xiao La Jiao (Little Pepper).

          2 Replies
          1. re: eade

            is the GS on lex and 34th any good? Seen it, but never tried it

            1. re: Lau

              Well, even though it is apparently under same management as the "good" GS's on the other side of town, the Lex location hasn't matched its counterparts' reputation.

              However, we went there recently after a two year hiatus and were pleasantly surprised to find the food quality was better than we remembered. We wondered if maybe the chef had changed. For starters, the pao cai, a basic litmus test of any Sichuan restaurant, was as good as the Chelsea and midtown branches, and we did not think it was so good a couple years ago. Out of the three additional dishes we ordered, two were quite comparable with the Chelsea and midtown versions, but one was not as good as midtown's.

              Not suprised that bh prefers the hotpot at Wu Liang Ye.

          2. I've had the versions at GS-lex, Wu Liang Ye and GS-Chinatown within the last 12 months. All in I think the best experience and flavor is at Wu Liang Ye's. Get some dan dan mien to start and that's one fine meal.

            The soup base at gs-chinatown has more of a 'water' texture than wu liang ye's or gs-lex. not bad, just different. gs-lex used to be my go-to, but i've generally been gravitating away from the east-side gs branches in favor of wu liang ye (i think the quality of the ingredients is a little better). i think wly's version isn't quite as spicy, which is too bad.

            One can also make it at home, which i have been doing lately. The bigger chinatown supermarkets have packages of the spicy soup base. I usually add some extra red peppers and sichuan peppercorns to that soup base.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bh_

              which WLY are you talking about?

              1. re: Lau

                oh yeah, should have clarified that. i was talking about the wly on lex btwn 39th and 40th. that is the only wly location that does huo guo / hot pot and they only do it during the winter months.