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Best hot pot for newbies?

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A group of 4-6 of us are thinking about having hot pot some time next week. We're pretty adventurous eaters and Sichuan-savvy, but are hot pot novices. What's the best place for us to get an introduction and a little guidance? I've read good things on the board about Legend and Szechuan Gourmet's hot pot, which one might be a little more accommodating to novices? Any other suggestions in Midtown and below?

Also, I'm assuming given the size of our group, we'd need to make a reservation. Do any of these places allow you to reserve hot pot on the later side, say, 8:30 or 9 p.m.?

Thanks!

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  1. Szechuan Gourmet closes around 9pm so I don't think they would work for you. Also they don't have a menu in English. You need to converse with the server and tell them what you want and don't want. Service can be brusque.

    I would choose Legend instead. Especially because the staff is very friendly, and you have a bigger group. And they take reservations.

    Hou Yi is very newbie friendly (printed menu with translations) but doesn't take reservations.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      At least the 56th St. branch of Szechuan Gourmet closes at 9:30, so it could be possible. It wouldn't hurt to call and ask. That said, I recently went back to Legend and had a very good meal there.

      1. re: Pan

        The SG hot pot is AYCE with a two hour time limit, it doesn't make sense if the kitchen closes soon after you get there.

        1. re: kathryn

          You're right. I've never had hot pot at Szechuan Gourmet and was unaware of their policy.

    2. if you dont mind going to flushing, i still like baidu the best (get the duck broth its def the best one)
      https://www.lauhound.com/2011/01/baid...