A new Asian dining concept opened a few weeks back in Bradenton at the Orange Blossom Plaza on Cortez Road. Your trusted friends from Discover Bradenton were there to check it out already, and we’ve got a lot of great things to say.
You can expect a highly sensory experience from the moment you walk into the restaurant. Music, rich and intricate woodwork, Asian art, and traditional oriental screens between rooms and tables are in almost every area. A large bar area occupies the space next to the entry foyer, and service throughout the restaurant is friendly, plentiful, and fast.
You’ll have a chance to choose from the traditional Chinese BBQ, Hot Pot menu or Both (for just $5 dollars more combined). We chose both.
Each one of these options comes with unlimited orders of meat, seafood, side dishes, vegetables, rice, noodles, and soup bases. Yes, it’s All-You-Can-Eat – but you have to order more each time you’re done with a round.
They also come to each group and have a cart to refill your items so you never have to leave your table. It’s extremely organized and well thought out.
What may be a bit more challenging is your cooking skills. They provide a quick reference sheet for cooking and boiling times on the grill or the soup pot and then leave you to your own devices.
We had a large group and ordered almost everything on the menu and passed it around the table. We got to taste Prime Brisket, Sliced Lamb, Sliced Beef Belly, Beef Meatballs, Pork Liver, and Chicken from the meats. Seafood also included Baby Clam, Scallop, Shrimp, Octopus, Frog Legs, and Crawfish.
My favorite section of the menu was probably the side dishes. We ordered Shrimp Tempura, Lobster Balls, Shrimp Dumplings, Vegetable Dumplings, and Fish Roe.
Another menu area has vegetables such as Mung Bean Sprouts, Seaweed, Bok Choy, Watercress and Enoki Mushrooms.
The noodle selection gives you the option of Vermicelli, Pho Noodles, Rice Noodles, Ramen, Udon, and a few others for your soup base. The base itself can be Schezuan Pepper Style, Herbal Style, Thai Tom Yum, Pig Bone and more.
Let’s say that there is no shortage of combinations that you can make on your own for every single dish you want to taste.
It may seem a bit chaotic at first but it’s easy to get the technique down. The staff is always near your table and will guide you through the cooking process if need be. Remember, these are all raw meats and seafood that you will cook on the grill at the table. You often share the grill with two or three other people from your own party.
The soups are the same, except everyone gets their own hot pot. You order the soup base of your choice, add, remove, or mix anything you want, and add the raw materials (meat, seafood, vegetables, etc.).
As you craft your pot, you do have to be mindful that different ingredients react to different boiling points. Once everything is cooked, you’ll serve and enjoy!
Drinks are also important in this meal. They have a huge selection of Boba (or Bubble) Teas. I ordered the Red Bean Milk Tea and it was outstanding.
They are so delicious. They also have fruit teas, cold teas, hot teas, and traditional Chinese tea service as well.
Looking for something with a bit more of a kick? They have a Sake selection that reads much like a fine wine list. I have to say they had over a dozen different sake variations sold by the bottle.
The drink options are not something that you should overlook because they’re designed to complement your meal and make your culinary event complete.
This is a great experience to share with friends just for fun, a celebration birthday or date night – or as we saw at some tables, families coming together in this experiment.
It was obvious to me that some of the families were well accustomed to the techniques and it is probably something they learned from a very young age and their country of origin. It’s a fun and tasty cross-generational event.
Hong BBQ & Hot Pot has three (3) restaurants located in Florida. These are Bradenton, Tampa, and Lakeland. The newly opened Bradenton location is at:
445 CORTEZ RD. W,
BRADENTON, FL 34207
They’re open 7 days a week from 1:00 pm until midnight.