With the chill of fall descending upon the Washington, D.C. area, the prospect of dining around a pot of boiling broth is certainly appealing. New Season, a restaurant and bar in Falls Church’s Loehmann’s Plaza, offers just that.
The restaurant serves hot pot, an Asian dish in which bubbling broth is the base for a do-it-yourself stew of meats, vegetables, and noodles.
Upon entering the restaurant, diners are seated at a table whose centerpiece is an induction cooktop. Should they order hot pot, the burner is kicked on and, with some instruction provided by the server, adjusted for the optimal level of heat.
The hot pot menu is extremely customizable, starting first with the choice of broth. There are five to choose from. The classic is a basic, salty broth. The Thai variety, a popular selection, is ripe with tomato-y sweetness and the barest bit of heat. For the indecisive diner, a few extra bucks means you can pick two broths, brought out in one massive metal pot with a wall dividing it in half. Picking the noodles comes next, from a selection of udon, egg, lily bean thread, and vermicelli varieties.
The price of the hot pot is based on what meats and vegetables you’d like to dunk in your broth. An order of the Beef Lover’s Combo ($24.95) brings to the table a tray of thinly sliced beef, a gradient of rosy hues, featuring prime ribeye and Black Angus choice ribeye cuts. And after just a moment spent writhing in the bubbling broth, the now tender and savory meat is ready to be plucked from the pot and enjoyed.
There’s special enjoyment to be found in seeing how the broth transforms the ingredients it surrounds: how the napa cabbage becomes translucent at the edges, how the watercress wilts and winds around itself, and how the big pieces of okra remain firm but still take on the broth’s flavor. All are served in abundance with each hot pot order.
An a la carte selection offers even more ingredient options. Mushrooms (enoki, oyster, or shiitake varieties) can be ordered for $3. Meat selections range in price from the $14.95 prime ribeye to the $4 beef tripe. Seafood options are abundant, including shrimp, scallop, squid, and clams. For $5, diners can order assorted meatballs – pork, beef, and fish varieties, each a chewy and savory delight.
The fish balls, as a $6 appetizer, are deep fried and served with Sriracha sauce and, for a sweeter take, plum sauce. Indeed, beyond the many hot pot options there are appetizers, influenced by a range of Asian cuisines. There are many entrees, as well, more than 50 in all. The Shaky Beef ($14), a chef’s specialty, serves juicy bits of marinated, wok-seared flank steak over watercress, with slices of onion and tomato at its side, and peppered lime vinaigrette to add some tangy flavor and heat.
There are many options on the New Season menu to consider, but the hot pot experience should be high on the list.
New Season is located at 7279 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church. For more information, call 703-573-1348. Restaurant hours are Monday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – midnight.