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Little Q Hot Pot/Chinatown

The food may be great; but I would't know it. Ms 9 and I got there for lunch about 12:15. Quickly seated by the hostess, who retreated to her booth. 2 tables occupied. We were in a window seat in the bar and had the pleasure of watching the bartender open a bottle of wine and the hostess read a newspaper. This went on for 20 mins; by which time we got up and walked out.

So no little Q for us.

Maybe I need to see Scotty the shrink..:) I have a 30+ bias against hot pot. In my teens, a few friends went to 1 of these places in NYC. It was a new concept to the US..and only chopsticks were offered. ! friend who'd just been to Japan managed to eat all the good stuff with his chopsticks before we were able to obtain forks. I think I got a few vegetables. All wasn't lost because we continued to CTown and ended up at Ratners...but my luck with hot pots continues to be subpar.

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  1. Have you tried the Arlington branch? I agree that there's something collegestudent-like about dropping bits of food in a communal pot, then reaching over (half-standing if you're short) and fishing around with your chopsticks to find it, fending off your companions as you do so ("hey, that was my shrimp -- yours is at the bottom somewhere under her tofu"). But the food's good enough to make it worthwhile.

    4 Replies
    1. re: FoodDabbler

      I haven't but the reviews sound good. I'm now chopstick capable but the CTown branch is far mor easy to get to.

      I'll give them another shot. Seems like they are busy at night. This was just a bizarre experience, 2 staff, and a 1/3 waiting on a table..and no one acknowledged us after the initial greeting.

      I'm not shy and would have spoken up, but a beer at Jacob Wirth's was starting to feel like a better idea..:)

      Jacob Wirth Restaurant
      31 Stuart St, Boston, MA 02116

      1. re: 9lives

        Funny, I've also had to struggle to get any attention from servers in the chinatown Q bar area.

        1. re: 9lives

          Such is the strength of the ma-la broth that if you drop your chopsticks into it, you can simply eat them minutes later as al dente noodles.

          1. re: FoodDabbler

            Ha! That's great.

            That's what I was planning on ordering and hoping for...:)

      2. The staff at the Arlington branch is extremely friendly, and speaks good English. Haven't tried the Chinatown branch.

        Having said that, I'm very tempted to buy my own little tabletop stove and do hotpot at home. It's so much more economical and no one will laugh at me when I drop food all over the place.

        1. That shocks me.

          I have only had totally opposite experiences there, in Chinatown. Its a beautiful space with great food and service.

          If anything, i have found the service to be a bit overbearing , if well-intentioned. They could not be more accommodating, though. Once you figure out the hovering service, it's easy to see that they are just super accommodating and you can use them to your needs. I love that.

          We LOVE the place. For all the right reasons: excellent food, service, and accomodations

          I would absolutely suggest giving The Q another chance. They have
          It in them to be great.

          1 Reply
          1. re: C. Hamster

            Ham,and others, no one was more shocked than us. All the good reviews abd the the hope of mala broth..not to be.

            I live very nearby and we'll go back soon and I hope my review is much better.If you read the extensive reviews of places I'be been, I think you'll find very fewnegs. I just don'y enjoy writing them; but to be ignored for 20 mins..isn't accepatable.

          2. Had the mala broth at both branches. The one in arlington seemed to be a bit weaker in intensity but worse was the fact that the waitstaff was overly eager to push us out during dinner service.

            1. Another Mala broth here. Food was delicious, but the service was atrocious the 1 time i went. I was also seated in the bar area. I wanted to get more food, but the service was just so bad I had to go to the bar and ask for the check.

              To be fair, I went opening weekend so I am definitely going to give them another chance very soon.

              3 Replies
              1. re: hynespb

                We only eat in the bar area and have always been hovered around by the waitstaff. Once or twice the apps have come out slowly but that's the worst. So far, at least.

                We liked the mala broth at the old Quincy location better. We sense a slightly different formula which went very heavy with the camphor berries.

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Ham and others,Please don't get me wrong. Enough posters whose opininins I respect like the place. .including you and others .The service glitch was not so egregious that they do deserve another try.and will get it.

                  I'm hoping to go back soon, enjoy that mala broth. and post about it here.

                  1. re: 9lives

                    I totally understandd

                    I'll make sure to pay attention to the server situation next time I go.

              2. Nine, I'm sorry to hear this. I've eaten at both the Arlington and the downtown branches and have never had the lackluster service you describe.

                They do seem to be struggling with staff turnover downtown though ... I popped in for a drink last night and the bartender was first day on the job with little to no support from the manager. He was a nice guy, I felt badly for him. Total weeds.

                Mala broth smelled as good as ever though. And last time I went to Arlington I thoroughly enjoyed the black bone chicken broth.

                2 Replies
                1. re: yumyum

                  Ms 9 was there last night too and enjoyed her meal; so it seems like my experience was the exception.

                  1. re: 9lives

                    When I'm wrong, I'm really wrong.

                    Ms 9 went to Little Q again by herself. The chef and owner came over and helped her cook the mala broth and I Pad Thai. She was bringing it home to me. She was there for 90 mins (standard?) and cooking things with the help of the staff. Mala beef broth that tastes like it's strong enough to eat through the plastic containers...love it...:) I'm sure there is some guidance required for newcomers but this seemed beyond the call of duty.

                    Glad I went back, don't know what happened my first time; but it's a great reason to give a place a second chance ab\nd not write a place off fo a minor service glitch

                2. Wow...that's crazy. We've hit it a few times and we've never had anything like that :-O

                  Next time if you want some dining company, let me know. We can talk fishing tales over mala and mongolian broths :-)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Spike

                    We had a great meal at Little Q last night. Since there were 5 of us we were able to sample the Mala, the Mongolian, the Original and the Kimchi broths. Mongolian and Mala were the crowd favorites; the other two were fairly forgettable. Mala had a surprising but pleasant sweetness to it; like the cumin lamb at Thailand Cafe. No visible Sichuan peppercorns unfortunately, but bubbling with cumin seeds, dried peppers, and other odd roots and nuts, it still satisfied and invigorated. The mixed vegetable baskets were overflowing with corn, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach leaves, cabbage and baby bok choy, and the paper thin cuts of meat (lamb, beef and pork) seemed to stay tender no matter how distracted we got from our task, leaving them in several minutes too long. I've done cook-your-own and shabu-shabu before and was never all that thrilled with the genre, but the variety and richness of their broths and generosity of both spirit and serving size at this place had me planning my next trip back.