I was elated to learn of this new restaurant, because it serves Sichuan Hot Pot for one - something I've been trying to find, off and on, for a few years (it would probably be easier just to go with someone, but for whatever reason, I haven't). So even though it was definitely not hot pot weather last night, I went to check it out.
It's a small, clean place that still has that new restaurant smell - varnish from the tables, maybe. Although there is beer in the fridge, none is served because they don't have their liquor license yet. I was first served an appetizer of cold boiled spinach with hot mustard, which was pleasant, but also something anyone with a stove could whip up on her own. I ordered the basic vegetable hot pot, no add-ons, with spicy soup and yellow bean dipping sauce. The soup was actually not very spicy, so I would advise anyone seeking significant heat to choose the spicy dipping sauce. The bean sauce was excellent, though.
The hot pot ingredients were plentiful and varied: tofu, tofu skin, napa cabbage, three kinds of mushroom, carrot, fungus, daikon, clear noodles, a really terrible piece of corn on the cob, romaine lettuce, which does not take well to boiling, and crab stick, which is not a vegetable but hey, I like crab stick alright. The dessert course was described as a pudding, although it was actually two stiff, gelatinous white blocks of something that tasted like the inside of a fridge. Or maybe that's how it's supposed to taste. I didn't finish it.
So overall, it was pretty good, but nothing I'd rush back for. Still, there are worse ways to spend an hour and $12.
Old Town Hot Pot
70 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014