I had great hot pot last night at a place called Spicy & Tasty at 133-43 Roosevelt Ave in Flushing, in the basement. It's the kind where half the pot is the spicy broth and half non-, and each person is giving a delicious fishy dipping sauce. As with shabu-shabu, you order whatever you want to dip into the broth. We got frozen tofu, greens, lamb, beef, vermicelli and potatoes. As my dining companions were explaining to me, the spicy broth contains the standard five-spice sichuan combination of sichuan pepper (prickly ash), star aniseed, cloves, cinnamon and fennel, so when you eat it, there's a kind of spicy fragrance that coats the inside of your mouth, a sort of pungeancy, more than a killer Thai sort of hotness. It was delicious stuff, and cheap, about $10/person including tip.
On the way back to the car we noticed a great-looking dumpling place on 40rd that seemed to be doing a land office business, even at 11pm. It was called Yang Tze River Restaurant. Anybody know it?