Wednesday, January 25, 2017

South Bay: Q-Pot

My diet plan continued to deteriorate over MLK weekend.  Actually, I think I can say that it was completely obliterated by T's text to me on Sunday, asking if I wanted to try out Q-Pot:
















Somehow, a giant Korean BBQ and hot pot buffet restaurant managed to open for months in my city without my knowing it.  How did I let this happen?!

Even though it was a Sunday afternoon, Q-Pot was probably only slightly over half full.  There would have been no wait, except I arrived first and had to wait until my party was complete before we could be seated.  Once T and CV showed up, we were immediately led to a table.

I know the name of my blog is "No Shame", but I actually get embarrassed pretty easily.  While I have no issue when it comes to snapping photos of my food, I find it difficult to take pictures of the interior of a restaurant without becoming very self-conscious.  Which is how I often end up with photos that don't really capture the entirety of the space:
















Yea.  Sorry about that.  But trust me when I say that Q-Pot is huge and very modern.

Each table has a grill and individual hot pot burners:
















Each table also comes with a mounted Microsoft Surface tablet with which you can place all your orders:
















All you can eat BBQ or hot pot alone is $24.99 per person, but you can do both for $27.99.  Whatever you choose, the entire party has to do the same.  It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of hot pot, but when I saw T and CV considering giving up hot pot for me, I told them YOLO and to get both.

The tablet ordering system is really cool, however it also requires a bit of strategy.  You can only order up to four seafood and meat items every three minutes.  You can order up to eight items of everything else every one minute.

Once you put in your first round of orders, you can check out the sauce bar:
















Again, I'm not really a hot pot person, so my sauce selection was made with the BBQ in mind.  I got matcha salt, ssamjang, and sesame sauce, which were only three out of plenty, plenty other offerings:
















There are quite a few soup bases to choose from.  There's miso, pickled napa and pork, healthy herb, kimchi, milk, tom yum, Taiwanese spicy, and spicy tofu.  I went with pickled napa pork:


Honestly, I turned off my hot pot burner less than a quarter way through our meal.  Having boiled meat just pales in comparison when you can have this on the grill:
















There were quite a few meat options to choose from.  Pictured above are the premium steak and the marinated finger short ribs.  There was also chadol (brisket) and beef tongue:


Both were sliced way too thinly in my opinion.  The pieces were so small that they almost melted away upon hitting the hot grill.

We also got the kalbi:
















And the pork belly:
















And though we scoffed at the chicken tab on the menu, when we peeked at it out of curiosity, we got excited about the spicy gizzards:
















We ordered a lot of other meat, but by that point, I was done taking pictures and more focused on stuffing my face.  There was beef belly (also sliced unsatisfyingly thin), pork cheek, and marinated steak.  Not to mention all the things we didn't get around to ordering, like marinated pork belly, beef intestine, and bulgogi.

T and CV got a bunch of veggies to go into their hot pots:






















But what they kept going back to was the seafood.  They ordered oysters and mussels and clams:
















So many clams.  They just couldn't stop, wouldn't stop with the clams.  Clams in their hot pot, clams on the grill.  They also ordered shrimp, but stayed away from the calamari and fish.

It wasn't until toward the end of our meal that we though to ask for lettuce and pickled daikon for wrapping:
















Apparently rice noodle sheets are available to upon request:
















The most interesting part about dining at Q-Pot has to be the touchscreen ordering method.  There's a two hour limit and a countdown clock starts on the tablet once you place your first order. 

Super cool tablet aside, if I had to choose between Q-Pot and Gen, I would probably go with Gen.  Q-Pot might have hot pot on top of Korean BBQ, but since I barely tolerate hot pot, that doesn't add anything for me.  In terms of BBQ selection, Gen has more options than Q-Pot for meat, but less for seafood.  I go for the meat, so the lack of seafood doesn't bother me.  While the steak is equally good at both Q-Pot and Gen, the sliced meats are more substantial at Gen.  None of that nearly dissolving crap.  And while Q-Pot might have Gen beat in the sauce department, I don't need all that fancy stuff.  Just some salt with my steak and I'm good.  The one thing I wish Gen would add is lettuce for wrapping.  Salad just doesn't cut it.

Would I go back to Q-Pot though?  Oh, sure.  Why not?  It's huge, there's no wait, the price is reasonable, and I can always just gorge myself on premium steak. 

I'm pretty low maintenance.  Heh.


Q-Pot
1610 E Capitol Expy
San Jose, CA 95121(669) 234-3095
https://www.qpotsanjose.com/

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