>> Hot Space 麻辣空间 | Eat the World NYC

09 December 2019

Hot Space 麻辣空间


As with most things happening in the various Chinese communities in New York City and elsewhere in the United States, trends from back home take a few years to travel across the Pacific. Waves of younger people coming to the city loaded with decent amounts of money have led to the proliferation of regional Chinese restaurants that are popular in the major urban centers like Shanghai, Beijing, and beyond.

While spicy Sichuan favorites like tabletop pan-grilled whole fish are hardly new, restaurants focusing on the dish are, about five or six years past when they started becoming massive in China. Sunset Park has seen a few places with the dish front and center on the menu, even in more general Sichuan restaurants.

It certainly does not hurt to dine here with your friends who can read Chinese, but the menu is fairly simple enough to get through without much help despite being designed oddly. You would probably not come here without ordering one of the fish, all large and in the $45-60 range, so gather a group of at least four and come hungry.

They do their side dishes relatively well, so don't hesitate to order a good range to munch on and provide lots of alternative bites from the spicy fish. Along with cold Sichuan vegetables like cold shredded potato in special sauce ($5.95, above front) and fresh pepper with okra ($8.95, above back), the chicken in chilli sauce ($9.95, below) was well-liked by the table. [EDITOR'S NOTE: I missed how and why this happened, but this last dish arrived free for the group. Thank you Hot Space!]

Also worth your time is the dry pot cauliflower ($15.95, above), a dish that never seems to fail at Sichuan restaurants.

But back to the fish. The menu is not in the most efficient order for first-time customers to the restaurant, but basically you check the box for the type of fish you want, then choose a "flavor" and finally the vegetables you would like to be cooked along with the fish when it arrives at your table. Once you finish those three steps, you can start adding the appetizers spoke of, or other items and drinks.

The fish that ended up on the table this night was a big mouth bass ($59.95, above and below), the most expensive of the offerings. Some sauces can add more to the bill, but most come with the price of the fish as this spicy tofu pudding did.

For the first round here, the restaurant did the work of picking the vegetables. The golden combination ($9) includes enoki mushrooms, potato, lotus root, and kelp, and does a great job adding texture and flavor to the meal without taking away the focus from the fish.

In addition, there is a fairly large barbecue section of the menu that adds a different flair. While none of it will knock your socks off, a group can share a few of these like roasted beef ($3.95, above) and roasted eggplant ($4.95, below).

After the meal, a complimentary bowl of dessert arrives for each patron, a creamy mix of grass jelly, lychee, and milk. This is not overly sweet but gives just the right note to end the meal. All five bowls were emptied on this night.

Hot Space Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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