Dish no. 92: Szechuan spicy hot pot from Little Pepper Hot Pot (133-43 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, 718-690-2206)
One way to deal with the summer’s heat is to feast exclusively on frozen treats, cold drinks, and light dishes served cold. Another way is to dive headlong into something insanely spicy, thereby ratcheting up your sweatiness and letting your body cool you. If the latter method appeals — or if, perhaps, you’d like to set your palate afire, heat or no — head to Flushing’s Little Pepper Hot Pot, sibling to a prolific Szechuan joint in College Point. At the Flushing satellite, you’ll find only hot pot on the menu. Order one Szechuan hot (as opposed to a medium heat combination pot or the much milder original pot), and you’ll receive a steaming cauldron of broth hued an angry rust color plus platters of meat and vegetables to dip in the pot and cook. If you’re into offal, you’ll find it in spades via duck intestine, pork blood, and bovine heart; if that doesn’t appeal, there are dozens of other options on the menu. We’re partial to the meatballs, the seafood, and the sliced spicy beef or lamb. Oh, and bring a group — these hot pots can feed a family of four.
In advance of our 2014 Best of NYC issue, we’re traipsing through the boroughs and divulging our favorite dishes of the year. They’re presented here as a countdown, but we’re listing them in no particular order. Consider this a guide to what’s good to eat in this town right this very second.
More:100 Favorite Dishes