>> First Lamb Shabu 老诚一锅 | Eat the World NYC

31 December 2017

First Lamb Shabu 老诚一锅


The first sign that things might be a little different here is the logo, a mysterious adaptation of a scorpion. Besides the claws and tail, this shape turns out to be the bones of a sheep spine, the star of the famous hot pot here at First Lamb Shabu.

Translating from Chinese, the name is something like "Old Town Hot Pot," and this Beijing-based franchise now has over 300 locations throughout China. Flushing, Queens is home to the first on US soil, and has been busy and well-regarded ever since opening its doors. I had actually not heard about it at all until a group of mostly Chinese friends recently asked me to tag along for a dinner for eight.

Whether you order the lamb spines or lamb chops ($66 for large order, safely feeding four, below), the meat that arrives has been pre-cooked for hours and is ready to go. They turn on the heat source and the rich broth starts to do its thing.

The broth and the gamey juices from these lamb chops lay the foundation for the rest of the experience. Once a good number of ribs have been removed and eaten, you can start placing all the rest of your hot pot items in the boiling cauldron.

From what I gathered, the bowl below was the only item that came unordered, so it is up to you to complement your lamb with an array of goodies as desired. Honestly though, true meat-lovers could survive without anything else. Luckily I was with a group that wanted a variety, some of which I got the camera pointed at is below:

As the meats disappear, the broth stays just as good and fishing out all the vegetables, fish balls, and tofu is rewarding for how well those excellent lamb tastes adhere to everything. In the end, everyone paid $45, certainly not the cheapest hot pot in town, but definitely unique.

There are other more standard hot pot options, as well as an odd Hello Kitty version that seems to exist solely for people who find Instagram more entertaining than eating. A pile of plastic gloves is offered, allowing diners to really dig into those lamb spines to get the most luscious morsels of meat in between bones. Had the servers not been constantly clearing our empty plates and discarded bones, the table would have really looked like a war zone.

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First Lamb Shabu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato