Move Over Ramen, Hot Pots Are Here
Whether you’re tired of maxing out your sodium intake, avoiding excessive carbs, or simply ready to move on to the next dish du jour, Sushi Zen’s Chef Toshio Suzuki will be happy to teach you a thing or two about hot pots, the intensely flavorful and guilt-free Japanese soups that remain a secret here in the city.
Like ramen, hot pots differ from region to region when eaten in Japan, but certain qualities always remain: a typical hot pot has a kombu- or soy-based broth, to which the chef adds a variety of proteins and vegetables that add flavor and substance to the dish. Some varieties are flavored with beef or pork; others use crawfish or shrimp. Our favorite blends the seasonal monkfish meat and liver—which Suzuki lovingly calls the “foie gras of the sea”—with tofu, seasonal vegetables, mushrooms and roe.
Regardless of the ingredient choice, hot pots are traditionally served family style, which adds to their overall value and appeal. At Sushi Zen, Suzuki prepares about eight different hot pots a season; hot pots do not exceed $25 and are intended to feed two. Be sure to ask for a side of rice and cheese, as mixing these into the leftover broth produces a risotto-like texture that hot-pot experts rave about.
108 West 44th Street, between Broadway and Sixth Ave