It is certainly great to see new restaurants sprout in Joplin, post-tornado, and especially those offering cuisines from other cultures (even if it be Pan Asian,). So in this sense, HuHot is a great addition. I have seen this place in Springfield MO and never got in so when they opened in Joplin and I happened to be in the city, I thought to give it a try. The place is usually packed towards the weekend for dinner. The night we went the crowd was right-sized. It was full but we were able to be seated immediately. Here is my review:
1. Food : Frozen meats and sea food (fish, faux crab), and lots of veggie choices. The sauce station is very impressive -- lots of choices so you won't get bored. you can try a different "taste" each time you go back to refill your bowls.
2. Service : Hmmm... not bad, not impressive either. They are good. The team work is not seamless yet. Some of the attending staff seemed tense. They were mostly very young so I guess it is just a matter of time for them to really come together AS A TEAM.
3. Grilling staff: Needs work. They are all very young, and not that I am taking it against that factor alone. What I mean is that this is probably their first job cooking so you can imagine the results you get. The food was cooked ok. I did see some of the meat overcooked and one of my fish slices was not cooked through. The reason could also be that the meats are sliced too thinly therefore easily burnt. I realize this is to ensure that they are cooked through but then the cooking staff should learn to adjust spead or adjust the water or oil so that they do not burn. Training training training is all I can say. Perhaps every station shift should have at least one more senior chef or griller who can guide and lead them. and take the chance to train and have the younger ones observe. (as you can see, the way i write this, i am even thinking about how they should be trained -- they are clearly amateurs).
4. Others: The interiors are nice. The lighting could be brightened a bit/slightly. The bowls are TOO SMALL for the food one should put on a mongolian barbecue/grill. once grilled, the contents shrink to a very small size and when the grillers plate it, my food looks like a sorry puny pile on a giant plate. Visually, not too good. USE BIGGER BOWLS PLEASE. Doesn't have to be gigantic. But then, doesn't have to be tiny.
This is it. I would support this establishment because I want it to succeed. But, i am not particularly enthusiastic and would not be a first-choice to go. Still, I would recommend to friends to "give it a try" as I tend to believe that things will get better: it is promising and the food and service I am sure can improve. I will come back some time soon-ish and will see if there is improvement. I hope I am impressed the next time. Keep going guys!
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