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Hot Pot at Szechuan Gourmet

Miss Needle Apr 13, 2008 04:43 PM

Last night, DH and I decided to get the hot pot at Szechuan Gourmet. We've eaten here many times before (we live in the area) but never ordered the hot pot. While it may seem counterintuitive to order this hot pot when it was 70+ degrees, we went ahead with our decision. We haven't had that dish at that restaurant though we've had it at other places. I called them in advance as it is an off-menu item. They said they would have it that night.

So I go to the restaurant and tell the waiter that we'll be having the hot pot. He brings out the hot pot menu which is written all in Chinese. DH and I look at each other knowing that we were doomed. We asked the waiter to translate. He told us it was $25/person with a limit of two hours. Within those two hours you can order unlimited amounts of food. If you wanted to order certain things such as intestines, there's an extra charge. He was very kind to take out the time to translate the menu for us -- there were many items and he spent a great deal of time going over all the selections for us.

We ordered the half and half -- half spicy/half clear. The clear broth was quite tasty filled with some dried shrimp. The spicy broth was spicy, but not terribly so. We've definitely had spicier. This is what we had: beef, pork, lamb, prawns, tripe, crab, enoki mushrooms, baby bok choy, spinach, soft tofu. As we ordered so many things for only two people, we thought they were going to give us small portions of each. We were shocked when he brought out this humongous plate of the items. There were probably like 10 prawns and 1/2 lb of each meat. Way too much food! We tried and tried to finish the plate but we absolutely couldn't. After about an hour, DH had this look on his face and said, "I'm done." When the waiter was checking with us as to how things are going, we said that this was too much food for us. His response was, "You have two hours."

When I paid the check at the end, I asked him if anybody ever finishes all the food. He replied, "Never." Then why do they give us so much food, especially if you can order more if you're within the two-hour limit? I was really hoping they weren't going to do any recycling of the ingredients.

But it was a great meal. Large eaters, rejoice! This is the place for you. They don't skimp, especially with the more expensive products such as prawns. There's only one level of spiciness, but it's really not too bad. Unfortunately with the copious amounts of MSG I ingested, I was drinking water all night. But it was worth it. Not something I would want to do all the time, but nice once in a while.

  1. k
    kathryn Nov 21, 2012 04:29 PM

    Price is now $31.95pp for all you can eat hot pot. Our meal this week, I asked for no shrimp and no fish balls, so instead they brought us the following: beef, lamb, blue crabs (yum), beef stomach (tripe), cabbage, wood ear mushroom, spinach,, mung bean sprouts, daikon, tofu, lotus root, enoki mushroom, some sort of baloney/spam. Half spicy, half regular broth. Got refills on the meat, too. Made a huge mess, and we ate for 1.5 hours. They had to change our plates three times.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kathryn
      Simon Nov 21, 2012 08:42 PM

      Nice! i have to go there soon

      1. re: kathryn
        r32nissan Nov 21, 2012 09:36 PM

        I'm there. Cannot wait. Is that 31.95 inclusive of gratuity as noted above?

        1. re: r32nissan
          kathryn Nov 22, 2012 06:11 AM

          No, they add on tax and tip to the 31.95 figure. Ends up being just over $80 for two.

      2. k
        kathryn Jan 29, 2011 06:05 PM

        Price is now $28.75 but gratuity is included. We feasted on half spicy, half regular, with lamb, beef, blue crab, shrimp, fish balls, tofu, broccoli, Napa cabbage, spinach, enoki mushrooms. Very popular to get hot pot tonight, as we saw three other tables getting it. Forgot to ask for lotus root, alas. Menu continues to be all in Chinese, but you can just ask them for a little bit of everything.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kathryn
          diprey11 Jan 29, 2011 07:37 PM

          Oh well, it's been ages for me: thank you for the reminder, and I have so many questions... sorry.
          How did you like it overall? What kind of a non-spicy broth did you order? I know it's all written down in Chinese but their captain speaks Cantonese and 3-4 other dialects quite well (if that's any help).
          Did you order bitter melon (苦瓜) at all? (It always took some effort, heh) How's their honeycomb tripe (牛肚) nowadays? DId they recommend kidneys? I always thought their fish balls were just OK: any improvement? Was it a Western broccoli or 芥蘭 ?

          1. re: diprey11
            kathryn Jan 30, 2011 07:30 AM

            The non spicy broth was 'herbal' I believe. There were tomatoes, dried shrimps, diced vegetables, and other items floating around for flavoring.

            We didn't get any bitter melon, tripe, or kidneys, but I didn't ask. The fish balls were OK, not great but not terrible either. It was western broccoli not Chinese broccoli.

        2. s
          Simon Sep 20, 2008 01:27 PM

          sounds tasty but the all-you-can-eat per-person part seems like kind of a bad deal...if i was going for hotpot w/ with say a total of 3 people, we'd likely order maybe 6 or so items (i.e. shrimp, lamb, tofu, and a few veggies) and we'd prob all be very full and it'd cost a lot less than 75 bucks before tax/tip/drinks...i forget which of the Lexington/3rdAve hotpot places i've been to, but the cost was much less than that and i left full and happy...

          1. a
            AlbertaHound Apr 13, 2008 10:18 PM

            If you'd be so kind - where is this place? I did a search, and there are others with this address. Which one are you referring to? Thanks!

            3 Replies
            1. re: AlbertaHound
              Miss Needle Apr 13, 2008 10:26 PM

              I'm referring to this one:


              There is another one in Flushing which is the same as the one in Manhattan.

              1. re: Miss Needle
                FattyDumplin Sep 19, 2008 12:40 PM

                does the manhattan location still do hotpot?

                1. re: FattyDumplin
                  SomeRandomIdiot Sep 20, 2008 12:14 PM

                  Probably easiest just to call them to find out. I don't think I've seen them put out the sign advertising hotpot since the Times review.

            2. b
              banquo Apr 13, 2008 09:14 PM

              Thanks for the report. I've always wanted to try this. And now I will!

              1. s
                SomeRandomIdiot Apr 13, 2008 06:12 PM

                Any idea if you can do this for lunch?

                3 Replies
                1. re: SomeRandomIdiot
                  Miss Needle Apr 13, 2008 07:17 PM

                  You can call them to make sure, but I highly doubt it. Have you seen that place during lunch hours? It's like a zoo.

                  1. re: Miss Needle
                    SomeRandomIdiot Apr 16, 2008 08:26 AM

                    Just called today. SG won't do it for one person but you can have it for lunch. Oh well, back to Keen's for a takeout mutton chop.

                  2. re: SomeRandomIdiot
                    diablofoodie Apr 15, 2008 06:03 PM

                    If you wanted to try a smaller version, during lunch, you could try Swish on Broadway and 116. But this is a bit of a reduced version, but you could have it by yourself, and at lunch and try it out.

                    Huoguo (hotpot) is meant to be a long group meal. Looong. Many people. Lotsa beer or baijiu. This is the predecessor to the neater, not so spicy but equally wonderful fondue chinoise.

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