Why go: Chinese hot pots are rare in this area, and the owners of Hong Kong Palace are doing them the Szechuan way. Order the broth and accompaniments and a server will bring over a tabletop burner, cook the food, and warn you not to eat the spicy peppercorns.
What to get: The “half” hot pot, divided between a mild, opaque broth and a spicy soup with floating chilies. Accessorize them with flounder, beef, enoki mushrooms, tofu, and watercress. Of the dipping sauces, chili oil with scallion and cilantro is the standout.
Best for: A fun, shareable meal.
Insider tip: The lunch buffet is cheap ($8.25 weekdays, $10.95 weekends), all-you-can-eat, and extensive—more than 40 dishes and four soups—but if you arrive on the late side, it might be picked over.
>> See all 2010 Cheap Eats restaurants here.