At the suggestion of others on this board, I made it to Lee How Fook and tried a hot pot. Though it was very good and certainly beyond typical Americanized Chinese fare, it did not blow my mind.
Though I understand that several of the hot pots have different sauces, I chose the chickena and abalone hot pot. It was explained to me that this is the same as the chicken and mushroon hot pot with the addition of abalone.
As promised, the dish was served still bubbling and the lid was whisked off at the table. The hot pot contained chicken, abalone, shitake mushrooms, greens and a brown sauce that was heavy on the ginger. I liked the tender chicken and the chewy abalone. The shitake mushrooms were still firm, not overcooked like at so many restaurants. The sauce, however, was a bit too bland. While I tend to like spicy food, I'm usually more interested in spiced food. Maybe it's because I'm not especially fond of ginger, but the sauce just did not seem vibrant enough. That said, it was a good peasant-style stew.
I'm glad I tried it. I thank those on the board for suggesting it to me. It certainly raised my opinion of LHF. But again, it further entrenched my view that Chinese restaurant menus in America are just too all-encompassing. How was I to know the last time I went that the hot pot was the best? If your specialty is hot pots, why also have hunan chicken and orange beef?