Sunset Park: Mister Hotpot
Although Sunset Park's Mister Hotpot has been open around a year, I couldn't find a mention of it here, so I thought I should rectify that.
Not only is Mister Hotpot an excellent hot pot restaurant, they accept credit cards, take reservations, are open late, and have a modern, clean space, with a large enclosed party room in the back. The only downside (for some) might be the booming techno music, but if you read Yelp reviews, apparently a large portion of their customer base enjoys that.
They have three broths (herbal, pork, and spicy), and last night I finally got to visit with a large enough group where we could get all three at once, in two split pots, doubling up on the spicy. All of the broths have good depth of flavor. A separated dish of mix-ins is provided at the beginning of the meal for you to mix your own dipping sauce if you wish, although a tasty, citrusy house sauce is provided as well.
There is a huge variety of quality, fresh ingredients available, including some delicious and highly recommended unusual ones such as fish skin. Last night we also tried wood ear fungus - not my favorite. There are various combo plates available - you can see the beef combo in the photos linked below - this is a good way to go if you have a large group.
They do a lot of social media promotions, so check Yelp, Facebook and so forth to see if there's anything going on when you go. Oftentimes they'll have a free dessert or ingredient for checking in to one of the aforementioned services.
We just went last week (with a groupon for $15 off) and very much enjoyed it. My only other experience with hotpot has been a homemade version with a friend's parents (who used to own a Chinese restaurant), and Mr. Hotpot compared well to that.
The first time we stopped by we didn't have reservations and weren't willing to wait an hour, and this time it took a while to park and we ended up sharing a four-top with another couple because they were short on tables.
The food and service were very good, though. We did the split hot pot with pork broth and spicy broth, which comes with a nice basket of fresh veggies (lots of napa cabbage) and a dipping sauce that you can mix with various other things (including lots of garlic) - as we discovered, you're supposed to do the mixing right away so they can take away the platter of add-ins for the next table.
To add to the hotpot, we got the beef brisket, pea shoots, shanghai noodles, shrimp, and scallops. The brisket is a generous portion of curls of thinly sliced frozen meat which cooks pretty instantly - we liked it best with the spicy broth. (Beware of the orange peppers that look like little carrots in that broth, though - I bit into one accidentally and literally cried.) Everything else we liked better in the milky-looking pork broth - the shrimp and scallops could perhaps have been a touch fresher, but that may have been due to eating out on New Year's Day.
Overall, it was a good experience - as noted, the music might not be for everyone (in our case, it was a weird mix of house tracks and cheesy holiday music), but we kind of liked it. Worth a visit to check out a fun genre of restaurant!