The trendy atmosphere at Baidu Shabu Shabu in Flushing, Queens, will reel you in. As you walk through the door, it seems like you are entering the nightlife of a hip city in China. Bamboo and silk cloth hang from the ceiling and the entire restaurant has dim lighting with various lights and decorations all around. A waterfall is in the middle of the restaurant with colorful lights inside and a flat screen TV in the center. You are surrounded by lightly colored brick walls, bright red booths and beige tables and chairs.
Bright, flashing lights change color at the foot of the bar’s stools, long poles hang above you from the ceiling with light bulbs at the bottom with balls of twisted white spirals. There is a flat screen TV in the center of the bar with shelves of bottles of liquor and beers around it.
Baidu has a full Szechuan menu and a full hot pot menu. If you’re trying hot pot for the first time, each person dining gets a pot for themselves to cook their own food at their seat, where there are stove tops. There is an assortment of entrees to choose from and it is a fun experience to watch your meal boil right in front of you. The choice is yours from the broth you cook your food in, entrees of meat and fish, sides of vegetables and different sauces for dipping. You can have your every part of your meal exactly the way you want it. The venue is also vegetarian friendly with numerous vegetable and tofu entrees to choose from.
Customers can also choose a buffet, where a group can order as much food as they want plus soda or beer within a two hour period for $25 a person. The rest of my dinner party selected the buffet and were very pleased. They consumed plates of strips of beef, seafood platters, chicken, short ribs and vegetables until their stomachs were completely stuffed and satisfied. They thought the Angus beef was a restaurant favorite. They also enjoyed the impressive seafood selection, which was very fresh and included crab, squid, shrimp and much more.
Being a vegetarian, I went in another direction. I had the vegetable combo and was pleased with the amount of food it had to offer at such a low price, $4.25. Most of the vegetables on the menu, noodles and some tofu were all on my plate, ready for me to take a bite. They had to take a visit into the hot pot though, of course.
One by one, I dropped the spinach, corn on the cob, tomatoes, mushrooms, slices of pumpkin and cauliflower into my personal pot with vegetarian broth. Next, I dropped my noodles into the pot. I watched as my dinner sizzled in my pot and steam flowed into my face. I found the experience amusing. The numerous vegetables were extremely fresh, flavorful and filling. The sauce bar pleased me as well; I was able to choose each taste I wanted from homemade soy sauce to sesame oil. The clear noodles were light and tasty. They were much more refreshing and satisfying than the white rice that usually comes with my vegetable platter at a Chinese restaurant.
If you are looking for delicious Chinese food cooked to your liking at a reasonable price, try Baidu Shabu Shabu. It is an entertaining and satisfying dining experience!
Baidu Shabu Shabu’s address is 37-04 Prince Street New York, NY 11354, located in Flushing. Their telephone number is 718-353-9538.