With the upcoming winter months creeping up, diners may be wise to switch from the waterfront patios to restaurants offering more substantial substances than a heat lamp and a well-crafted martini. Hot pot is a great opportunity for families to gather around, filling up with the many tasty delicacies offered. With the restaurant's high-tech burners, unique selection of Asian teas, and exceptionally fresh seafood, families looking for a healthy, hearty meal out will leave thoroughly warmed by the bubbling hot pot experience.
The various broths listed include one vegetarian option, as well as various meat and seafood broths. The lobster in borsht ($7.50), the chicken broth ($7.50) and the vegetarian broth ($7.50) were flavourful soups. A server arrived around shortly thereafter with a metal cart filled with 12 pots of different sauces and chopped herbs. Thinly sliced chives, slender stems of green onion, slivers of parsley, fresh peanut sauce, tangy hot sauce, and various fresh herbs are combined into a bowl. Sauces are custom made, specially prepared according to the individual taste. This decision is not one should take lightly, as the final concoction end up being the primary sauce throughout the meal.
The menu consists of assorted meats, homemade dumplings, seafood delicacies, and seasonal vegetables. The chive dumplings were fresh packets of minced meat and herbs ($6.00). The live geoduck was excellent (market price), sliced thinly and served on crushed ice, with a little wasabi and soy sauce on the side. The home-made wonton dumplings arrived neatly fringed and rolled, showing off Garden City's chef attention to detail ($6.00). The top grade beef slices, arranged like sashimi, took 15 seconds to cook ($16.50), while the fat white scallops took almost five minutes to simmer to perfection. The shrimp balls come in an assortment of types- arriving in a tidy set of 9, arranged 3 by 3 ($11.00). The soft tofu dish arrived in a heart shape; however, it lost its form in the cooking process ($6.00). The vegetables at Garden Hot Pot are excellent, the watercress was nice ($7.00), as well as the vivid green spinach which practically sparkled with freshness ($7.00), and the snow pea tips that were tender and sweet ($10.00). The sea cucumber ($8.00), enoki mushrooms, Chinese mushrooms, taro and bean curd are delicious bets for vegetarians.
Despite the inevitable overeating that will occur, don't forget to try the desserts. Chinese sweets include the mini glutinous ice-cream balls ($4.25) and the tofu dessert with sweet ginger syrup ($4.25).
Reviewed by: Christine G. Louie
Last reviewed: September 21st, 2006