Boston — By Maria Olia on January 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm
Filed under: chinese food

Q Restaurant for Hot Pot in Boston’s Chinatown

Bring an appetite for adventure when you visit Q Restaurant (660 Washington St., Boston) (map). Q specializes in hot pot cookery-a meal that encourages diners to engage in culinary experimentation by cooking their meal in a communal pot filled with a flavorful broth. Owner Ming Zhu explains that hot pot restaurants are among the most popular restaurants in China today- there is one practically on every block. With its hip,  design of burnished reds, darkwood and contemporary accents,  Q is definitely a step above this block’s other eateries.

The waitstaff is attentive to novice hot potters and are great at explaining the how-to’s. Hot pot is only as good as the broth and Q’s  homemade broth is the real deal. The broths are flavorful and complex with whole herbs and spices like coriander seeds and flower peppers –  and the broth gets even better as you add your ingredients.

Hot pot  is a healthy meal, ideal for warding off the New England chill. Many diners opt for a Ying/Yang pot combination that includes a basic beef broth and  a “mala” broth. Heat-seekers should beware; the mala broth is described as “medium hot”- but it is not for the faint of heart or palate!

The bubbling broth is set on a electric brazier in the middle of the table along with a basket of  raw vegetables-  including spinach leaves, bok choy, mushrooms and bean sprouts, and a platter of your choice of meat or seafood . The classic meat order is beautifully marbled rib eye ($19), sliced paper thin, but you can choose from among lamb, pork, chicken or seafood as well.  Pick too from either rice or noodles as a side dish. Add the vegetables and the meat to the pot of simmering broth. You can dump them in all at once or just a few at a time. Don’t worry- there is no right or wrong way! Fish your favorite morsels out with the strainer and then dip into one of your  sauces and enjoy. Save the noodles or rice for the end- to soak up the last and best broth flavors.

Q is a hybrid restaurant; the full bar serves upscale cocktails, there are Chinese entree standards like General Gau’s chicken ($10) and beef with orange peel ( $11) as well as an impressive array of  mainstream Japanese sushi at reasonable prices- sushi roll specials are just $4. Everyone can be happy about something at Q-  best to come before it is discovered.

Image Credit: Q Restaurant

Note: iStopOver Boston received a complimentary meal to review.

Tags: chinese food

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