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Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot

wineloverdc | Aug 26, 201707:43 AM     3

Had no inkling that I would like this place so much. A group of friends saw they had a birthday special and my birthday was in July so our entire group would get all you can eat for $22.99. You have to show ID and the birthday has to be in July or August and the deal ends August 31 so you have to get a move on. Little Sheep was owned by Yum Brands and then spun off into Yum China. I was not expecting great food from the folk who give us Taco Bella and KFC. I was wrong.

Warning: if you go ala carte, the pricing is outrageous and your bill can easily run over $40 or 50 per person if you are good eaters. And the all you can eat is actually you can order 3 rounds. However one trip we ordered only 1 item for the third round, and the other time we had trouble finishing up the second round.

Spectacular choices include the lamb meatballs, beef tendon, fish meatballs, both house made and Fuzhou which were filled, lamb shoulder, garlic beef, which needs to be cooked well to bring out the flavor and dense texture, fish filet, fried tofu skin (the best tasting imitation of sneaker soles) fried tofu skin (looks like loofa, absorbs the broth very well, we ordered these on each round}, enoki mushrooms, lettuce leaf, ting ho and quail egg. One service issue is if they are out of something, they just don't bring it.

The drinks are uniformly boring and expensive. $9.99 for a pitcher of mostly ice and a little watermelon and $15 for a strange tasting litchi sake make for poor value. They serve their water with lemon slices and it makes the best refresher.

We chose the spicy soup and the bone broth the first time half and half and the spicy was as advertised. The bone broth was bland and boring. The next time we got spicy, extra spicy and the pickled cabbage broth, a much better combo. The spicy half of the pot was literally covered with red chiles and spices and really had a burn.

The menu says sauces not recommended and the first meal was superb without any sauces. The waiter offered a range of sauces the second meal: tofu (almost like blue cheese but funkier fermented tofu) garlic and spicy. They all added to the flavors but were clearly not necessary.

Hope to get back down to 7 Corners to get one more meal in before the end of August. Then will look for AYCE specials in the future. Probably will not be trying ala carte given how much our group likes to eat.

Right now my favorite hot pots are Hot Spot in Fairfax, here and Riverside in Gaithersburg. Going to try Little Dipper next.

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