We dine at this branch of Haidilao frequently. Easy location for us, and the food and service always is good.
Always packed but not in an obnoxious way -- there are things to keep you busy while you wait -- beer, nuts and snacks, manicures (yea, really).
The best part about Haidilao is you get to mix your own dipping sauce from a counter of about 20 ingredients. I tend to stick with a fairly classic sesame paste or oil with tons of black vinegar, scallion, coriander and a bit of garlic and chili. The counter also has cut fruit -- the pears are lovely to cleanse the palate -- and some fun pickled veg and other accompaniments.
Ingredients are always quality -- Mongolian lamb, beef, various mushrooms (must get black fungus), tofu (must get freeze fried tofu), cabbage, pea shoots, lotus root, potatoes, etc. we always do the split broth -- half clean mushroom, half spicy. Their spicy broth is actually spicy -- a nice mix of chili and Sichuan peppercorns.
Service is friendly. Approachable for foreigners/non-Mandarin speakers. Our first time there, we weren't terribly sure on what to do and the staff seemed to find it fun to teach us.
Try the hand pulled noodles too -- they pull them table side.
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