This week, Jonathan Gold heads to Monterey Park to review Hip Hot, a Sichuan seafood restaurant that comes by way of Chengdu-born chef Tiantian Qiu. The restaurant in the Atlantic Times Square complex “may seem pretty much out of your league” thanks to $250 king crabs and smoking dispensers of beer that cover the tables.
However, this “baller hot-pot restaurant” offers some standout seafood dishes, albeit the fact that “Sichuan, a land-locked province, has no seafood tradition.” J. Gold praises the Dungeness crab “stir-fried with ungodly amounts of chiles and Sichuan peppercorn,” marinated crab that “more like Korean ganjang-gejang than it does like anything I’ve ever encountered at a Sichuan restaurant,” and water boiled fish:
The water-boiled fish were soft and well-cooked in their massive vessel of broth, bean sprouts and chiles – you drag the fillets out through the inch of red oil floating at the top of the tureen, which flavors them; you’re not meant to drink the broth as soup. [LAT]
The Times critic also recommends the green bean jelly, scallops, and chicken wing dry pot.