*Restaurant is now closed*
It never fails. Softball season starts and the weather refuses to cooperate. I often forget that we live on the Wet Coast. It didn't look good for our Monday softball game, yet we were able to finish before the torrential downpour started. We escaped with only a bit of rain during the game. Honestly, I am a fairweather person when it comes to sports. I don't golf in the rain and I'm not particularly fond of it during softball either. In fact, I don't even like camping. I consider Motel 6 as roughing it. Yes, I'm a wuss. I'll admit it. Anyways, we were cold and damp after the game. Perfect for hot pot. Despite our proximity to Richmond, we opted to go elsewhere in search of a boiling pot of soup. You see, Judes had to make it home early to feed her hungry cat and Richmond was too far away. It's true! We didn't avoid Richmond for the more obvious reasons...
We ended up heading over to All You Can Eat Hot Pot Fresh Juice Shop. Yes, that is the real name of the place. And yes, that picture of the front is really the front! Name and appearance withstanding, the place serves up "Japanese-style" hot pot (aka Sukiyaki, no not the song...). I put that in quotations because it really ain't Sukiyaki. Think Posh, but even less refined (Posh is not authentic either). However, like Posh, the prices are the same for the AYCE menu. Unlike Posh, there are more meat options with the exception of fish. And really unlike Posh, the interior is as unposh-like as a place could be. We were greeted by a very friendly lady (who was probably the owner) upon arrival. We were presented with a large pot on an induction burner. We checked off the limited options on the order sheet and the food came pretty quickly. To get things straight, Japanese Sukiyaki is not like Chinese hot pot. First of all, the pot is significantly smaller and shallower. The broth is soy, sugar and mirin-based and the only meat available should be beef (or sometimes pork). Furthermore, the cooked meat is dipped into raw egg. Now, if one went in with a "it needs to be authentic" attitude, this place would inevitably disappoint. However, we went in with no prejudices and expectations.
Among the things we ordered were all of the Meats (beef, lamb, chicken, pork) which were more or less good. They were still quite frozen though and a bit difficult to slide off the plate. As for the broth, it was very "Chinesey"-tasting rather than Sukiyaki. That was to be expected considering everything. But that really didn't bother us because we didn't expect authenticity. In addition to the meats, we checked off a bunch of veggies and various items which arrived in several large plates. Theses included spinach, tofu, taro, shitake mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, yam, rice cake, baby corn, winter melon, noodle bundles, enoki mushrooms, fish cake, zucchini, button mushrooms, fried bean curd skin, tofu puffs, glass noodles and an instant noodle brick. Everything appeared and tasted fresh (well, the stuff that was supposed to be fresh that is).
The nice owner-lady offered us all a free apple drink which was more colourful than flavourful. No matter, it was refreshing and well, it was free. Our overall hot pot experience here was acceptable, especially for the price. Sure, it ain't anything to look at inside and out. Moreover, it isn't authentic nor is there any frills. However, it did the job without going north of $20.00.
- Friendly owner-lady
- Food is fine for what it is
- The place has the bare minimum in terms of decor and ambiance
- Limited items for those expecting a Chinese hot pot (it's Japanese Sukiyaki, well sorta)