Best Hot Pot (2014)

China Jade

China Jade, which boasts a stellar Chinese menu, also harbors a "secret" hot-pot menu -- and it might be the greatest culinary discovery of our year. Pots are delivered to the tabletop burner filled with your choice of three bases: original (mellow and non-threatening), spicy (crimson red and bobbing with numbing peppercorns and blistering-hot dried chiles), or "yin-yang," with the mellow base on one side and the crazy-hot base on the other. From there, you pick from an add-ins roster of raw meats, including pork belly, pork intestines, fatty beef and lamb shoulder; seafood such as sea cucumber, head-on shrimp and surf clams; vegetables ranging from snow-pea tips and seaweed knots to spinach, baby bok choy, enoki mushrooms and radishes; pudgy pork dumplings; and several kinds of noodles. Once your selection arrives, you dip and drop the ingredients into the communal pot. The experience is wonderfully interactive, particularly when you're with a gaggle of unapologetic slurpers.


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