Stormy skies and cold weather threatened our softball game tonight. However, without a call from Boss Woman regarding the cancellation of the game, I knew we were going to play rain or shine. Best of all, we would ultimately head for some grub after the game. Instantly, the wheels began turning in my head: what would be a good thing to eat tonight? Well, since it wasn't exactly warm, the idea of hot pot immediately came to mind. Yes, I've been known to have hot pot in the heat of summer; but this time, it would be more appropriate since it was cold. I bounced the idea off Milhouse and he seemed to be all for it. We headed off to the game and I began devising a plan in my head to convince my teammates into boiling their own food after the game.
Now about that game... It really wasn't all that memorable since we played very poorly and lost decisively. However, the game will probably be remembered for one incident. There were 2 guys kicking a soccer ball right behind our team "dugout". During the game, one of the kicks landed the ball right into our team bench. Okay, alright, he apologized, no harm, no foul. Not much longer, he does it again! It almost hit Milhouse this time and he threw the ball back in disgust. Then, with our whole team at the bench, the ball comes roaring in for 3rd time barely missing a few heads. That was it! The guy was apologetic again; but honestly, 3 times??? We all sort of lost it and even the more patient people on our team freaked out. The 2 guys weren't even going to move after the 3rd incident! We had to make them stop! Where do these people come from? In fact, I was one of the people who totally lost it and then subsequently went to bat and hit a home run. At my next time up at the plate, my team tried to get me mad again; but it really didn't work, I hit a pop fly...
After the game, I was successful in convincing the whole team to do all-you-can-eat hot pot at Claypot Restaurant (aka Sa Bo) in Richmond. I promised that I would not force anyone to eat any offal, even though that is the best part of hot pot! This place used to be called Sun Tung Kee; but now the English name is more of a literal translation of the Chinese name. We used to go here quite a lot during our University days and boy did we eat! This is the first time back in awhile and honestly, they need to do some renovations. Everything is looking a bit tired and old. We arrived a little after 9:00pm and were pleasantly surprised to see a late-night AYCE for $13.95 (flavoured soup extra charge). The whole reason why we were late going to dinner was a result of Miss Y being late to the game; thus pushing the start time of the game to 7:00pm. She cheerfully took the credit for us making the late-night AYCE. So now we are praising her for being late??? Sheesh!
The main difference between the late night and regular AYCE is the absence of seafood. We were quite hungry and didn't mind that at all (regular AYCE is $18.95). However, if you want anything other than clear broth, it'll cost you $7.00. Yet, $7.00 spread over 8 people was insignificant. Pop was very cheap at 2 for $1. Mind you, I'm sure they would love you to drink as much pop as possible to bloat your stomach. We ordered a whole bunch of items on the checklist and they placed all the dishes behind us on metal carts. Some of the more notable items were the Sliced AAA Beef, Lamb, Fish Balls, Squid Balls, Beef Meatballs, Fried Taro Slices and Fish Tofu. All of the aforementioned items were fresh and pleasant to eat. We did order udon, but we never got a chance to eat it on our end because Miss Y hogged all of it. Furthermore, she was doing epic fail upon epic fail in terms of dropping food all over the place. We can't take her anywhere (well, except for La Charcuterie).
Let's be honest, hot pot is not rocket science. The most important things to consider are: freshness, variety, cleanliness, service and value. Claypot nails most of the aforementioned criteria. If I were to nit-pick, the service could be a bit less indifferent. It was generally quite acceptable; but most of the staff seemed quite expressionless. Moreover, some of the tables are showing quite a bit of wear, it's time to resurface them. If these things bother you, then for a little bit more, you could go to Top Gun Hot Pot. Other than that, Claypot is a pretty good value.
- Items are fresh
- Good selection for AYCE
- Reasonably priced
- Place is a bit worn out
- Service is indifferent
- Parking lot is insufficient at peak times