Hot Pot Legend currently has over 80 locations in over 20 different provinces in China. The Rockville location (595 Hungerford Drive) is the first location in the United States.
This was my first time trying hot pot. It’s kind of a mix between Melting Pot, Korean BBQ, and Mongolian BBQ (for those of you that remember BD’s).
Walking in, you’re greeted by a giant panda (that seems to be the theme). It’s definitely different...you’ll even have little panda pillows at your seat. I like pandas...I’m good with it!
Here’s how it works...
Choose your soup base:
• Sichuan Spices (very spicy...add sesame oil if you want it a bit milder)
• Tomato (usually not my thing, but tasty!)
• Pork Broth (most popular, my favorite)
Choose your meat:
• Fatty Brisket Slice*
• Sliced Beef
• Beef Tripe
• Sliced Lamb*
• Pork Belly*
• Pork Liver
• Sliced Chicken
Choose your seafood:
• Sliced Fish Filet
• Small Cuttlefish
* my favorites
Soy products (not pictured) include:
• Spongy Tofu
• Beancurd Sheet
• Beancurd Skin
Choose your noodles:
• Ramen Noodle
• Udon Noodle
• Rice Vermicelli
• Steamed Rice
• Mini Dumpling
Can’r really go wrong here...
• Beef Meatball
• Fish Ball
• Shrimp Ball
• Pork Meatball
• Fish Tofu
• Squid Ball
• Northern Style Meatball
• Cuttlefish Ball
• Quail Egg
• Mini Sausage
• Seaweed Knots
• Wood Mushroom
• White Radish
• Lotus Root
• Enoki Mushroom
• Shitake Mushroom
• Napa Cabbage
• Oyster Mushroom
• Crown Daisy
• Bok Choy
• Fried Bread Stick
You want to add any root veggies to the soup at the start so that you can eat them towards the end of your experience, since they take a while to cook.
The meat cooks in just a few seconds and you get to choose from about a dozen different dipping sauces, including:
• Chive Sauce
• Chinese Barbecue Sauce
• Chili Sauce
• Soy Sauce
• Sesame Oil
• Chef Sauce
I recommend experimenting with the different sauces.
This was a very different experience and I enjoyed it. I’ll definitely be visiting Hot Pot Legend again in the near future.
Nantucket’s Reef (9755 Traville Gateway in Rockville) opened in September of 2013, just five weeks after O’Donnell’s Sea Grill closed a few miles away in the Kentlands.
The restaurant is MoCo owned and operated. Owners Jonathan Bostin (grew up in Laytonsville and graduated from Poolesville High School) and Steve Deffinbaugh (graduated from Seneca Valley High School) have also opened a sister restaurant in Frederick– Ragin’ Reef (506 E. Church Street).
I have friends that rave about the happy hour and was told that it runs EVERY DAY from 3pm until close at the bar (Monday-Friday from 3pm-7pm in the dining room).
Nantucket’s Reef offers fresh seafood at an affordable price point. They also do brunch on weekends and serve bottomless Bloody Marys and Mimosas for just $9.50 with the purchase of any brunch entree.
Today I stopped in for a late lunch/early dinner and started with the Lobster Queso. The chips are made in-house and it was difficult keeping myself from filling up on them.
Another appetizer that came highly recommended was the Wicked Mussels. This dish comes with small pieces of chorizo sausage, pico, and lemon butter that makes for an awesome dipping sauce.
It’s summer, so we tried two of their most weather-appropriate cocktails– the Ship Wreck and Orange Crush. If you’re into tropical, sweet drinks, the Ship Wreck is for you.
They do offer a few non-seafood options. Pictures below are the Blackened Chicken Tacos from the lunch menu. They also have a Chicken Pecan and Chicken Caeser salad as well as Herb Roasted Chicken and a 13oz ribeye for anyone not into seafood.
I’m a crab cake guy. They call theirs the Crab “No” Cakes. It consists of double jumbo lump crab cakes with a side of thin cut fries, served with coke slaw and tartar sauce. I enjoyed the crab cakes and they have good fries too.
Cant leave without dessert, and we certainly didn’t. I highly recommend finishing off your meal with the bread pudding. It’s as good as it looks
I had the opportunity to check out JINYA Ramen Bar at Pike & Rose (910 Prose St., next to the Baked Bear and LL Bean) whose grand opening is this coming Tuesday, August 7th, 2018. I was extremely impressed.
JINYA specializes in ramen. Ramen is widely considered a Japanese dish, but there's much debate over whether the noodles were first made in Japan or China. Many say the dishes as invented in China but made popular/trendy in Japan.
Though many credit New York’s Momofuku with making the dish popular in the U.S., the ramen “boom” came about in California when more than 200 spots opened in the area in 2012 alone.
Now that you have a brief background, let’s get into what JINYA has to offer...
Their cocktails are fun, but more importantly, they taste great. They run from $10-$12.
Below you’ll see the:
• Love me some Painappuru (rum, pineapple juice, aperol, and sweet vermouth)
• Garden of Todai-Ji (tequila, matcha basil shochu, agave syrup, fresh lime juice)
• Temple of Love (Heaven Hill bourbon, Cocchi Torino, rosemary foam, JINYA house bitters)
• The Forbidden Kingdom (Nikka gin, fresh lemon juice, fresh orgeat, house bitters, Aperol Aperitif)
I was speaking with one of our area’s top chefs who told me that JINYA is unique because their other dishes are just as great as their ramen. We started with the Brussel Sprouts Tempura (crispy brussel sprouts with white truffle oil).
We moved on to the Takoyaki Octopus. It was battered octopus over egg tartar, topped with kewpie mayonnaise, okononiyaki sauce, fresh cut green onion and smoked bonito flakes. They were very tasty, but also very filling so make sure you don’t eat too many of these (may be hard to do).
The caramelized cauliflower contained toasted pine nuts and, crispy mint leaves, and lime sauce. It was light and tasty.
Ramen time. We had the chance to try four of them. I liked all of them and I’ll reveal my favorite soon. We started with the Tonkotsu Black (pork broth) and Sprouting Up Ramen (pork and chicken broth). Both broths were excellent. The Tonkotsu Black was served with thin noodles and the Sprouting Up was served with thick noodles. I’d give both a shot to find your preference on the type of noodles.
Next were the Tonkotsu Spicy (pork broth) and Spicy Creamy Vegan (vegetable broth). I could taste the kick in the spicy bowl, but it’s not overpowering– a good thing for me. I was surprised that my favorite bowl ended up being the Spicy Creamy Vegan. I love meat, so I wasn’t expecting to be a fan, but I truly thought it was the tastiest of the bunch. Initially, I had a new favorite with each new bowl I tried, but after going back and trying them all again, I am sticking with the Spicy Creamy Vegan as my personal favorite.
Poke bowls are popping up all over the area as well. Poke means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian and refers to chunks of raw, marinated fish (usually tuna), or other meats, which is then tossed over rice and topped with vegetables and various sauces.
JINYA has their own version. Below is the California Bowl. It contains salmon, spicy tuna, shrimp, seaweed salad, masago, avocado, and cilantro over rice.
For dessert we had mochi ice cream. Very similar to most variations of mochi ice cream I’ve had, with green tea and chocolate flavors available.
We finished off our meal with the Toki Highball. JINYA will soon have a Highball machine that will provide “super-carbonated” flavored draft water. The Toki Highball consists of the water mixed with Suntori Toki Whiskey. A great way to end an evening!
It was a little too warm to eat outside in the late afternoon/early evening, but their outdoor seating is going to be awesome based on what I saw.
JINYA has a lot to offer. It’ll be a reasonably priced option with great food for anyone looking to eat at Pike & Rose.
I love food. On this tab, you will see some of my favorite dishes and restaurants in MoCo!