Melanie has a deep and abiding love for all annoying restaurants that require patron participation, especially those that are ethnic. Less than two hours after she learned that Dinho, now called Hot Pot 101 (5389-A New Peachtree Road, Chamblee, Tel: 770.458.9898), switched its concept to one of those goofy do-it-yourself hot pot deals, her butt was planted in a chair in front of a seething bowl of liquid, mischievously mixing sesame seeds, black vinegar, and chopped chilies, along with, uh, 20 or so other ingredients. Sigh.
How does it work?
It’s quite simple, really, though it might seem somewhat confusing at first. To start, decide on a soup base to boil your meal. Chicken? …Beef? …Seafood? …Spicy?
Then pick your protein plate. Your options are Chicken, beef, pork, lamb, seafood, seafood combination, and 3-meat combination.
After you place your order, find your way to the odd table along the far wall that contains a variety of ingredients (24 – 30 different offerings) to create your own dipping sauce.
When finished, return to your seat and wait for your raw meats/seafood to be dropped off. Then simply plop the contents of your plate into the fiercely bubbling soup base (preferably not at once) until cooked. After cooking, transfer your food to the mixing bowl and slather it around in that sauce you created — mine is usually spicy as all hell. Remember, if yours tastes like dirty feet, it’s your fault — you’re the cook. Maybe that’s why I dislike this concept.
Thoughts and Opinions
I’m typically not a fan of these types of places because when I go out to eat the last thing I want to do — besides clean dishes — is cook. But if you like this form of “patron participation” dining, I recommend the experience at Hot Pot 101 over Mini Hot Pot on Buford Highway. And, it’s honestly a fun, cheap thrill that can even be tasty if you can pull off a killer sauce.
I’m a bit perplexed by the restaurant’s use of white tablecloth. This is supposed to be a casual, fun concept.
I do, however, like that guava juice and guava tea, included in the price of your meal. Though, I do find it a little disturbing that I can’t determine which meat is which between the beef, pork and lamb. Also, the meats oddly arrive as rolled up thin, crispy (still thawing) perfectly shaped sheets. Seafood, the better of the options in my opinion, is far less dramatic and shrimp arrives with heads attached.
Single plates are priced very recession friendly at just $7.95 for lunch, while combination options are a little pricier, but will only set you back $9.95. Dinner prices are a bit more costly and can run you up to $13.95, I believe.
And finally, yes, it’s the exact location that once — okay, I think it was twice — housed the famed Frank Ma’s.