Hot Spot (Hot Pot & Korean BBQ)
Jacksonville, listen up. We have a new place that is unlike any other place in Jax. Not only is it a hot pot restaurant, but it has a massive raw bar and a magnetic conveyer that goes around the entire restaurant carrying veggies and noodles. Hot Spot is a new restaurant that sits on the corner of Beach Blvd and St Johns Bluff. I have been stalking them while driving by each week on my way to Si Senor. This week was finally the one I have been waiting for, the soft opening.
We went in on a Tuesday night and the place was already packed with a wait for the BBQ tables. We opted for hot pot so we were seated immediately. If you are not familiar with hot pot, the best way to describe it would be like a fondue. You are given a choice of different broths for your base, then you add meats and veggies into the pot to cook. The seating arrangements are very unique since they all revolve (no pun intended, but I’m kind of proud of it) around the conveyer belt. There is a station in the middle where a chef prepares fresh veggies (and noodles), then sends them out. They go around the entire restaurant and then back to the chef station to get refilled. When you see something you want, just grab the bowl.
You visit the raw bar for all of your main meat items. It has everything you could ever want, meat wise. There are numerous seafood and beef/pork/chicken options and at the very end there is a sauce bar. These can be used as simple dipping sauces or to jazz up the broth.
I decided on the original broth since this was my first visit. It was a little plain for my tastes so I added in some garlic and chili paste sauce. My husband got the spicy option and was very pleased. It had a nice flavor without being “burn your face off” spicy. We tried many different meat options including chicken, scallops, pork, pork belly, beef brisket, steak, and shrimp. My favorite was the pork belly. It was thinly sliced and cooked in no time. We also grabbed quite a few veggie items from the conveyer including different kinds of mushrooms, cauliflower, and of course ramen. I saw that ramen go by one time at the very start of the meal but I wasn’t able to grab it. I was almost finished eating when my husband spotted one behind us while getting up. He grabbed it and my night was complete.
Verdict: Loved it!
Jacksonville definitely needed a place like this. We have tons of great restaurants but not too many ethnic options. Judging by how packed the restaurant was without any promotion, website, or social media presence, I think this might be the new “hot spot” in town. I can see this being a great place for social gatherings as well as date night. The restaurant itself is such a unique and fun experience. The second I walked in I was already super excited. It’s a feast for the eyes as much as the stomach. When all was said and done, we were full and happy. At $23.99 and all you can eat (at the time of publication), it’s a steal. Do yourself a favor and get in there and try it out. Don’t let cooking your own food deter you. It only takes a few minutes to cook and then you will be chowing down in no time.