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Great Meal (But What a Mess) at Little Q

hiddenboston Jun 5, 2008 09:02 AM

I felt like a little kid again last night, as we went to Little Q Hot Pot in Quincy last night and proceeded to make a total mess of our table, our clothes, the window next to the table, the people sitting across from us, etc. But it was worth it, as the food was really, really tasty.

We did a combo, with spicy broth in one side of the pot and herbal broth in the other. We had rib eye and chicken for our meats, clear cellophane noodles, and the assorted veggie platter. The spicy broth was tastier than the herbal, IMO, but it continued to get more and more spicy as it continued to boil, making it almost too hot by the end of the meal. The rib eye was very flavorful, though the slices were a bit too fatty for my liking. The chicken was sliced as thin as the rib eye, and there was no waste at all. As for the veggies, I thought that the watercress really helped on the herbal broth side, giving it some extra flavor and texture.

But wow, what a mess. By the time we were done eating, the area around us looked like day 4 of Woodstock, with splattered liquid and pieces of food everywhere. I kind of hid my face as the server came over at the end, but she didn't seem shocked at the carnage.

What a great place....I'm hoping that they find a place to move when the Burgin Parkway comes crashing into Quincy Center over the next couple of years. Perhaps North Quincy might be a good spot for them?

  1. c
    chowfamily Jun 5, 2008 09:37 AM

    This delightful spot gets some criticism for being to sterile and cafeteria-like.

    The mess most diners inevitably make while playing with delicious food explains it, and clearly the designers anticipated it. The staff keep it scrupulously clean, and each new diner gets a pristine setting.

    The broths are special, and it is nice to have many options. Scallion pancakes and the spicy special noodles are also very good.

    I may be biased since hot pot and shabu shabu are among my favorite foods, but this place really stands out. I love going there, and always hope other diners aren't paying too much attention to my place setting either!

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowfamily
      hiddenboston Jun 5, 2008 09:48 AM

      I actually kind of liked the space. The lack of atmosphere made it feel like a serious foodie spot in my mind.

      I forgot to mention that perhaps my favorite item of all last night was the pork fried rice (which was served in a wooden bowl--a nice touch). The thinly sliced marinated pork was delicious, and the rice had a seductive ramen taste and smell to it--perhaps because it was loaded with MSG? If so, that would explain my wild mood swings today!

    2. kobuta Jun 5, 2008 10:13 AM

      Depending on how well the new shabu placei n N. Quincy does, I don't know if N. Quincy can support two shabu places so close together (unless they move closer to Wollaston). I wouldn't mind the competition though, since that means they're closer to me.

      Hmmm...I can't say my shabu meals are any messier than other meals. The table does tend to get crowded because of all the small plates of food to be cooked, which is annoying, but I don't notice excess spillage or splashing from anyone at the table.

      4 Replies
      1. re: kobuta
        p
        Pegmeister Jun 5, 2008 10:39 AM

        Where is the new shabu place in North Quincy? I live not far from the downs and haven't noticed anything new. Am I being oblivious?

        1. re: Pegmeister
          c
          chowfamily Jun 5, 2008 01:45 PM

          I haven't been there yet but the new place is called Shabu Restaurant located at 397 Hancock Street. It is owned by the same people as 1546 Fuji and Beni Cafe.

          I tend to order the head-on shrimp since they retain flavor and add flavor to the broth. The peeling and eating is a bit messy, but that is not unique to shabu. The same applies to lobster, which is delicious cooked in broth. One could certainly enjoy a delicious meal without spilling a drop!

          1. re: chowfamily
            p
            Pegmeister Jun 6, 2008 04:41 AM

            Thanks for the update. This is a convenient location for me. I'm just surprised that I hadn't noticed it. Generally, for shabu I go to Shabu Zen on Tyler St in Chinatown, but this sounds like a good option. The people who run Fuji and Beni certainly do a good job.

          2. re: Pegmeister
            kobuta Jun 6, 2008 05:50 AM

            The place is quite small, so I'm not surprised you wouldn't notice it. It's on the same block as Beni Cafe, and has a non-descript black awning with shabu written on it.

        2. Johnresa Jun 5, 2008 10:18 AM

          I love shabu and I made a super big mess last time I went to lilttle Q. I love spicy things but after cooking for about 15-20 minutes, the spicy broth almost made my tongue fall out.....still was delicious though

          1. m
            mats77 Jun 6, 2008 06:43 AM

            I'm also a big fan and would recommed trying some of the items that are on the chinese side of the menu: goose uterus is one of my favorites. The beef tongue is also outstanding. The one item I tried and didn't care for was the pigs blood. It wasn't bad but it wasn't anything special either. I too hope they find a place to relocate.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mats77
              hiddenboston Jun 6, 2008 06:53 AM

              mats77, maybe you can be more daring in your food choices the next time you go. :-D

              Someone said that it might be up to three years before Little Q has to move; I hope they are correct. That would give them some time to start looking around at new locations, anyways.

              1. re: mats77
                kobuta Jun 6, 2008 12:43 PM

                I'll agree - beef tongue is actually quite good (not just at Little Q) when sliced thin for hot pot or for barbecue (Asian style). Pigs blood is generally tasteless, unless paired with a good sauce, and even then a thicker sauce that sticks to it is what flavors the dish. I can imagine the soup not really adding much to pigs blood.

              2. intheq Jun 6, 2008 01:00 PM

                little q truly is a gem! we love to go in a group of five or six. with a larger party, you really get to order across the board on the menu (pumpkin, enoki, cellophane noodles, squid are my faves). it is almost ritual: the four sauce tray they bring out so you can mix your dipping sauce. the veggies, then the meats... the mess is just part of the ritual. we add so much of the hot sauce i swear there is an endorphin rush by the end!

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