Two of the tables look like they could have been taking straight out of someone’s dining room, while the other tables along the side feel like they belong in a greasy spoon diner from the 70s. It’s a bit of a random mish-mash, clearly indicating that Red 6 is much more about function than it is about form.
I refer to Red 6 as a hot pot restaurant, but it is entirely different from somewhere like House of Tofu Soup or even the more “traditional” Chinese hot pot restaurants with a communal pot of food. Instead, it’s about individual bowls of piping-hot food. They’ve also kept the menu relatively straightforward.
The main “assorted” hot pot consists of choosing a soup base, choosing a meat, and choosing a side dish. It’s much the same with the dumpling hot pot, except your meat has been replaced with the dumplings “handmade by my parents” that are “frozen, ready for cooking when customer orders it.” And finally, the udon hot pot is again very similar, but with less food. You’ll also notice that all prices include tax.
Pork Hot Pot with Hot Tomato Paste Soup: I ordered this with a side of “vermicelli,” but the server told me that was actually “pho.” I said that was fine, but what ended up at my table was closer to narrow ho fun. The noodles were served in a separate bowl and they all stuck together, which was rather unfortunate. The hot pot itself was very good though, accompanying my pork with enoki mushrooms, napa cabbage, and fried tofu.
This hot pot felt a lot like improvised home cooking. This is the kind of lunch that I would sometimes make for myself, rummaging through the fridge, freezer and cupboards to see what I find and throwing them all into a hot bowl of soup. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly didn’t feel like a “restaurant” meal. To be fair, that soup was pretty darn good.
Beef Hot Pot with Hot Tom Yum Soup: Here’s what Susanne ordered, which is more or less the same thing. Her hot pot came with the same fried tofu, cabbage and enoki mushrooms, but she opted for “ramen” as her side. The trouble was that it wasn’t really ramen; it was basically instant noodles. I personally didn’t enjoy the tom yum soup as much as the hot tomato paste soup, but that’s a matter of personal preference.
In both cases, the hot pot contained a lot of food and provided a good value. It’s not terribly fancy and the atmosphere leaves something to be desired, not unlike Turkish Donair, but if you’re looking for an honest mom-and-pop type meal off the beaten path, Red 6 is worth a visit.