Jennie Tai
Chinese Fairfax City Recipes

7 Things To Love About Hot Spot

A few months ago, I talked about how shabu shabu (aka hot pot) works and where it came from. Recently, hot pot restaurants have been popping up in all corners of NoVA, but one that recently opened on Old Pickett Road is the only one that offers an all-you-can-eat style hot pot buffet, with a drink on the cocktail menu perfect for Harry Potter fans.

{ I’m Hover Friendly! }

1) Trendy DigsOne of my favorite things about Hot Spot is the clean, minimalistic decor. It’s well-lit with a full bar, light wooden tables and sleek black accents. You’ll be able to spot out the restaurant by its steamy windows at the corner of a hidden shopping plaza on Old Picket Street.
2) Four Types of BrothThe four flavors offered here are shabu shabu, spicy, kimchi and herbal. We chose the herbal (boiled with fragrant chinese flower peppers) and the spicy soup (With sichuan peppers and ‘má là’). Both were tasty, and neither one of them could be described as ‘bland’, but I did find myself stealing soup from the spicy side of the pot. 😉 3) Favorite Fixin’sMy four favorite ingredients were the marinated beef (you have to try this if you love meat), shrimp balls, dumplings and sliced ribeye.. I know, I know… I should be a little ashamed that there weren’t any vegetables in the mix–but when I’m ordering off an unlimited menu, checking off boxes and boxes of dozens of things you want to try–sometimes I get a little too excited to notice the veggies!
4) Giant Sauce BarThe sauce bar here has three sections of the same sauces so people don’t bump into each other trying to find the last ingredient to their favorite concoction. Choose from herbs like cilantro and scallions to mix with soy sauce, chili, oyster sauce, hoisin, sesame seeds or sesame oil. My favorite mix–1 part garlic chili, 2 part hoisin, a drizzle of sesame oil, and a sprinkle of scallions and sesame seeds.
5) All-You-Can-EatThis is the best part about this place. For about $22–you can have unlimited hot pot for lunch and dinner. The only down side–if you stop by with a bunch of boys, you’re probably going to be there for three hours… true story. They’ll just keep refilling your pot with new broth, and handing over new menus for you to check off and order for endless rounds of meat, seafood and veggies. I can’t think of any other place around NoVA that does that. It’s almost like the Il Mee of hot pot–now they just need to be open late!
6) Butter Beer?!Completely random, but so delicious. The Harry-Potter-inspired concoction is like a thick cream soda that comes in a kid-friendly non-alcoholic version ($5), and an alcoholic cocktail for adults ($9). There aren’t any ton tongue toffees, but they do have beef tongue! Now all they need to add are cauldron cakes, licorice wands and jelly slugs…

P.S.–if you want to make your own harry potter treats, check out my recipes here.

7) Unlimited SeafoodWhen a restaurant offers all-you-can-eat seafood–I get pretty worried. Seafood is obviously an expensive item, so I imagine the worst when a restaurant claims to have an unlimited supply at such a cheap price. They offer lots of different kinds of seafood (including mussels, fish, crab, clam, etc), but we tried the octopus, scallops and shrimp. To our surprise–there wasn’t any noticeable issues or odd stenches.The only thing was that it came in small pieces, which considering it’s all-you-can-eat, didn’t really matter at all.

What I want to try next: the spam masubi and sushi.

Hot Spot: 3232 Old Pickett Road, VA; www.eatdrinkhotspot.com; 703.537.0325.

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