Boiling Point, one of a chain of soup restaurants that started in California, turns the traditional communal hot pot of Asian cuisine into a mini-feast served in your own personal caldron.
Look forward to cooking any of the dozens of side dishes that can be added to the broth, everything from pork blood to lotus root to cuttlefish to quail eggs.
The soup will steam up your glasses, burn your tongue if you’re not careful and force you to slow down to really enjoy your meal.
The menu: A selection of 10 soups, served in a hot pot with a side bowl of rice. The curry fishball, tomato veggie, Korean kimchi, beef, lamb, house special and seafood/tofu soups cost $11.99 at lunch and $12.99 at dinner. The Taiwanese spicy, Japanese miso and Thai flavor soups are $14.99 at lunch and $15.99 at dinner.
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The soups contain a mash-up of ingredients that typically include cabbage, noodles and mushrooms. Depending on what you order, it can also contain anything from tempura, clams, fishballs, fried tofu skin and sliced pork.
Side dishes go from 50 cents for vermicelli or an egg, to $1.50 for pickled mustard greens or imitation crab, to $3.95 for spicy fermented tofu.
Dessert includes fluffy shaved milk ice with fruit flavoring ($6.50).
What to write home about: The Japanese miso soup is a tasty treasure chest that hits all the right notes.
The setting: A noisy, modern magnet for young Asian hipsters. There’s seating for about 100. Many of the tables are close enough that you can see what other people are eating and pick up ideas for ordering your own side-dish combos.
Summing up: Two beef hot soups ($11.99 each, with tea and rice included), and sides of udon ($1), imitation crab ($1.50) and clams ($2.50), came to $37.73 with tax and tip. Neither of us could finish everything, and we ended up with enough soup left over for a small lunch.
Susan Kelleher: firstname.lastname@example.org