Hot Pot at Happy Family / Little Lamb - report
I had hot pot this past weekend at Happy Family / Little Lamb. On Main Street just south of Northern Blvd (and so, if you're driving, very convenient to the big municipal lot at Union and 37th). I've only ever had hot pot at Szechuan places in the past, so this was somewhat different. We did half-half - the spicy was more aromatic than what I've had in the past (and of course without szechuan peppercorns) and the non-spicy seemed to have soy milk and jujubes and was therefore a touch sweet. Very tasty.
You start by ordering one meat which also comes with a plate of varied veggies/noodles. We had lamb - thin slices. Then, in addition, we got both fish balls and crispy fish balls which were identical as far as we could tell. Good, though, especially when we left them to cook for a very long time. We got shitakes which were nice, watercress (eh), pork (thin slices - not as good as the lamb), and lamb meatballs which were sensational especially in the spicy broth. I think I'm forgetting something too.
I was exhausted and felt like I was getting sick before I went for hot pot and I don't know if it was the spice or the steam or whatever those mysterious spices/herbs were but it cured what ailed me. In a filling delicious way. Yum.
The spicy was too spicy, especially as it cooked down, to drink as a straight broth, but ladling the two broths together into a bowl was good.
Lau - I haven't actually had hot pot anywhere else in Flushing - meant to mention that! It was different than what I've had at some sichuan places in Manhattan in the past. If I'm trying to compare quality, I'd guess I say that I liked that the broths were more multi-dimensional. The quality of the food to cook in the broths was nothing better or worse than I've had before. Maybe the fish balls weren't as nice but the lamb meatballs were great. There are pages of things to order to cook in the hot pot, so trying just a few of them only gives a very narrow view. There's also a whole condiment bar which we basically ignored.
Erica - please report back comparing this place to Little Pepper if you get here! I definitely would like to find a decent place for Sichuan hot pot in Flushing too. I'm don't think I've hot pot I didn't like, so maybe I'm just easily pleased?
re: The Turtle Bay Dove
My meal at LP was my first experience with hot pot. We went with a group of about 8 people and I think there was only one person that thoought the hotpot was great. My issue was that I did not really like either broth. I found the whitish, non-spicy one to be quite sour and the reddish, spicy one as just so so.. Also, the menu is only in Chinese and although I had help from a friendly fellow diner, I probably did not order the best things to dip in the broth... But even if the ingredients had been great, those broths were a stickler, for me. The other dishes at Lp are just so great that I hated to fill up on less than wonderful foods, and so I will be back at LP but not to have the hotpot. But I will try Little Lamb one of these days and report back!!
Also, I asked for a container of the white broth to take home, thinking that it was chicken stock..wrong wrong wrong..it had no flavor at all and I ended up throwing it out. What exactly are these made with, do you know?? It was most certainly not sweet as you described in your review above..
Thank you thank you for this report! I had it at Little Pepper recently and was not so pleased so now have another place to try!