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Make it your way at Hot Pot 757 – The Virginian-Pilot

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One of the most wonderful things about enjoying a meal is when you can sit down with others and make it a communal experience.

I’ve loved dining at a big table with complete strangers at a Pennsylvania-Dutch eatery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, passing around bowls of homey dishes from scratch-made vegetables to a wide assortment of meats and desserts made in-house.

I’ve had memorable experiences with folks I didn’t know before supper at hibachi tables at several Japanese restaurants, with my first experience being at a Benihana in Key West in 1990.

I’ve enjoyed sharing fondues with family and friends around a table filled with bubbling hot cheeses, oils, and chocolates and all the accouterments like chunks of French bread, cubed meats, and whole strawberries.

And recently, I had another similar meal at Hot Pot 757.

A Chinese dining concept that spans thousands of years, hot pot offerings in restaurants in our area have only been taken off in the past few years. I’m glad they have.

Here’s how it works: a hot pot of broth or soup is presented, and placed on a burner in front of you and everyone at your table. Bubbling hot, various meats, seafoods, vegetables, and more are added, cooking away, not only absorbing the flavors from the broth/soup, but also imparting their own. Once cooked, which happens pretty quickly, portions are ladled out and enjoyed.

Hot Pot 757 is located in a charming, upscale Asian setting. The restaurant has an enormous selection of offerings, which is served up all-you-can-eat. That’s good, because I think it would take a couple of years to go through all the combinations that are possible.

Our friendly server walked us through our options, starting with the soup base. There are eight in all, and I was drawn towards the Szechuan Spicy Style. The description is truth-in-advertising: the broth is fiery red in color and heavily spiked with pieces of chili peppers.

I loved the complex flavor and the spice, but if heat isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there are other options too. My partner, Doug, selected Mushroom Style, which was mild and richly flavored.

There’s around two dozen meat and seafood choices. You can pick and choose as you want, or omit an animal protein altogether. I picked brisket and lamb, which comes to the table raw, to be cooked in the hot pot. I also thing tofu.

Seafood options range from blue crab to mussels to scallops to shrimp.

I loved the vegetable choices, which included the familiar like eggplant, spinach, sprouts, sweet potato, and tomato, and something more unusual, like lotus root, oyster mushrooms and winter melon.

It would be easy to have a vegetarian or vegan hot pot with the number of vegetables on the menu, as it was, I picked about a half-dozen for my pot – a few I knew, and a few I wanted to try. Like the meat and seafood, vegetables are presented on a wooden platter raw, to be cooked at the table.

But there’s more: dumplings, noodles, and rice; I selected ramen for my hot pot. And when everything comes, you can visit the salad bar (I made a nice green salad to enjoy with supper) for about a dozen sauces and spices; my option was hoisin.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind: put meats in first, as they will take a bit longer to cook, then seafood and starches, followed by vegetables. You can adjust the heat on the hot pot burner: I brought mine to a rolling boil and then turned it to low, stirring occasionally.

I loved the cooking of my own bowl from such a wide assortment of options, and sharing with my partner. I look forward to going back, and trying something new again and again.

When we visited Hot Pot 757, they had only been open a few weeks, and had not had their grand opening yet. As such, the alcohol license was still in the process of being approved, so there were not any beer, spirits, or wine on the bill of fare, as there will be in the future.

Once ingredients are cooked in the broth/soup in the hot pot, ladle it out into bowls, top with a number of seasonings, and enjoy - and share with others at the table.  The Chinese concept of cookery is offered at Hot Pot 757 in Chesapeake, which opened this fall.  Patrick Evans-Hylton/freelancer

Enjoyed with the meal was a large, decorated pot filled with hot green tea. It was a delicious, and traditional, beverage with the food offerings.

let's eat

let’s eat


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Hot Pot 757 is in the Crossways Shopping Center, 1412 Greenbrier Parkway, Chesapeake. Call 757-917-5299 or visit

Chesapeake Health Department’s Weekly Wednesday Farmers Market showcases local eats and drinks on Nov. 2 then Nov. 9 from 1 am until 1 pm Look for eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, and more.

Located right behind Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, the market accepts all forms of payment, including WIC.

The Weekly Wednesday Farmers Market is presented at 748 N. Battlefield Rd. Call 757-382-8600 or visit

Wine Down Wednesday at Soulivia Art + Soul Restaurant next takes place on Nov. 2 and Nov. 9. The weekly event showcases wine and live music, with food and drinks specials offered. There is a $25 minimum food spend.

Soulivia’s is at 141 Hillcrest Pkwy., Chesapeake. Call 757-908-2355 or visit

Patrick Evans-Hylton