Friday, May 6, 2011

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot--Cupertino, CA

Enticed by the buzz surrounding a trendy new restaurant featuring hot pot, we made our way to Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, which sits in the Loree Mall on Stevens Creek in Cupertino. (This is the same mall that's home to Shanghai Dim Sum, which I reviewed last August.) Indeed, it seemed more a hot spot for young professionals or a first-date hangout than a family restaurant. With the restaurant known for its hot pot, we ordered a variety of raw meats (tiger shrimp, leg of lamb, lamb shoulder, chicken and beef) and a variety of fungi to match. To carry the experience to its fullest, we ordered both the plain broth and the spicy.

The broth, made with chicken and pork bones, was terrific on its own. However, shortly after dinner began it was not better than what my mom-in-law prepared in December, which I reviewed. After a short while, the broth was dominated by the meats and vegetables we put in it.

The fully cooked dumplings were delicious and meaty. We also got fish dumplings (below) that also hit the spot. Most remarkable was that the skin of the dumpling was itself also made from fish. The fish was ground into a glutinous paste that was then rolled into skin. The yam dessert was good and was distinctive for its crispy skin and its interesting orange color.

At least as notable as the food, though, was the outstanding service. Our server:
1) When I brought out my camera, arranged the dishes for a photo, promptly jumping out of the way.
2) Noticed that the dessert, best served warm, was delivered to our table by another server near the beginning of the dinner. He offered to re-heat the dessert when we were about to finish dinner.
3) Constantly refilled our glasses
4) Took the initiative to suggest we can bring home what we couldn't finish (I didn't know that we could) and gave us additional broth to take home.
He was almost reason enough to go back, since going to a restaurant is an experience where one hopes to be delighted, whether it be by the food or anything else.

If it's a Saturday, get there by 5:30. We got there at about 5:25 and the restaurant was 80% full. Their "spicy" was pretty spicy. It appears they have but one grade of spiciness. In other words, we weren't asked if we wanted it "hot", "mild", etc. I would say the "spicy" was at least as hot as the hottest as that would be found in a typical Korean tofu house.

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
19062 Stevens Creek Blvd
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 996-9919