If not for the telltale hot-pot burners on every table, D Station's dining room might seem like the eating area in a fast-casual joint. And at lunch, when the offerings are more limited, ordering at the counter isn't a bad idea, especially if you're taking your food to go; there's a digital menu above the cashier station, with an odd-looking ice cream setup (more on that later) just to the side. Although the sign outside advertises "sushi," the digital menu clarifies that poke and seafood bowls come with a number of sushi-style toppings, and you can order any of the poke combos as a "sushi burrito," with rice and a nori wrapper instead of a flour tortilla. For a quick midday meal, you can stick with a classic ahi tuna or salmon poke bowl, or try the Ninja Chicken, Ebi Crunch (deep-fried shrimp) or Yummy Crab, all served over rice or with a salad, or in one of those sushi burritos. You can also build your own poke combo from a choice of proteins, toppings, mix-ins and sauces, some of which lean to the sweet side of the spectrum.
Hot pot is traditionally a group affair, with a central cauldron of simmering broth and mounds of ingredients that you throw in and fish out at various intervals. But D Station is one of a growing number of restaurants in Denver that offer individual hot pots, so you don't need to round up a posse to get the experience. For a set price ($20 for adults, with cheaper rates for kids of different ages), the kitchen serves an all-you-can-eat hot pot with enough different ingredients to keep even the most adventurous of eaters happy for several trips. Here's how it works: Let your server know that you want hot pot and you'll be offered a choice of broth (pork, spicy, herbal) and meat (lamb, beef, pork), and while you wait for those to be delivered, you load up on sauces, more meats, veggies and noodles at the self-serve station.
After the server delivers your broth, add the ingredients of your choice in the order of how long they take to cook. If you're not sure, just ask your server. The proteins coming from the kitchen are served raw and sliced thin; the slices cook very quickly in the boiling broth, so it's best to hang on to them with your chopsticks and swish. Since this is all-you-can-eat, additional plates of meats are available, and you can make multiple trips to the self-service station.
the Asian Cajun or the Crawling Crab, you get the idea. This option isn't all-you-can-eat, but it's another fun, hand-ons experience, and you don't have to cook your own food.
On a busy evening, D Station can seem like a three-ring circus, with large groups diving into piles of crawfish, other diners slurping noodles, and students in a rush grabbing poke to go. It's a choose-your-own adventure of Asian fusion flavors, with a touch of Sichuan heat in the spicy hot pot, Cajun warmth in the Old Bay seasoning, Hawaiian freshness in the poke, and Thai street-hawker showmanship in the rolled ice cream.
D Station is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday, with hot pot served starting at 4 p.m. weekdays and noon on weekends. There's no liquor license, but bubble teas and other Asian beverages are served. Call 720-535-7872 or visit the D Station website for more details.