Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot is a Mongolian inspired restaurant where you cook your food in a Chinese herbal broth or in a spicy broth. They have 2 options: an à la carte menu and an all-you-can-eat menu (AYCE). We calculated some items and found out that it was cheaper getting AYCE. However, the a la carte choices were not necessarily on the AYCE menu, so really look over the AYCE menu beforehand.
For the AYCE, you are provided with a clipboard and the list of food items. The concept is similar to Shabu-Shabu, where you select meats, vegetables, and even various dipping sauces.
Step one: Select a broth. There’s only 2 broths to choose from: house original or house spicy. We selected the “ying and yang” broth: a steaming pot with both kind of broths was set in the center of the table. One is milky in color, with an assortment of fresh ingredients such as goji berries, jujubes, black cardamom pods, ginseng and herbs. For those who like their meal on the fiery side, the other side of the pot is a spicy crimson broth with “mala” chili oil, cloves of garlic and peppercorns.
The spicy section didn’t start off as spicy, but gradually it became hotter. We scooped out some of the peppers, and was amazed at how much they put in.The non spicy was completely the opposite. Not spicy at all, and quite honestly, no flavor. Even when we mixed the spicy with non spicy, it was still pretty spicy. The flavor overwhelmed the meats and vegetables we added, and it overwhelmed the dipping sauces. So unlike Shabu, where the sauces compliments the food, we found the sauces quite useless, as the spicy broth was just too powerful.
Next step: Order your food. We started light, as we didn’t want to fill up quickly on the meats. Napa cabbage, enoki mushrooms, shrimp and beef meatballs, dumplings, won tons, crab sticks, sausages and fresh cut noodles was our first course. The meatballs and dumplings were not bad, and a good way to kick start your appetite. Portions are small to avoid waste.
We chose a heavier meat loaded menu for this round: sliced pork and beef, beef and lamb meatballs, fillet of fish, 2 types of tofu and a medley of shiitake and oyster mushrooms. The meats were just ok but I could not taste the flavor since the broth overwhelmed the flavor of the meat. I couldn’t tell if it was prime or just an ok grade. In fact, I could not tell if it was beef or pork, if it weren’t for the texture.
Completely void of vegetables, this last round had sliced lamb, another order of fish, pork meatballs, chicken, mussels and a hand cut egg noodles. We really liked the fish, as it soaked up the flavor of the broth, which the sliced meats didn’t do. The noodles were great, but no one wants to fill up on carbs. The chicken was just ok as well.
Dinner for 2 wasn’t cheap. Before tip, it came to $50 and there was no drink or dessert. Even though it was AYCE, after a while, the food combinations were pretty much the same, and I got tired of the same taste after the last round.
As mentioned, the sauces didn’t help combat the overwhelming broth. I would much rather go to a Shabu place, where the broth is more subtle, and where I can taste the food, not just the broth. I’m not a fan of this experience, but am glad I tried it. I guess this isn’t for me, and there’s far too many other AYCE places which offers better food for less.