42 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111
Hot Eastern may very well be my new favorite restaurant. This is a HUGE statement considering I have so many favorites in Chinatown already.
We noticed Hot Eastern last week when we were walking back to our offices from the Gourmet China House and said, “Hey, there is a new restaurant in the same building as Café de Lulu (one of our favorites.) Well, it turns out that Hot Eastern has replaced Café de Lulu! Quelle Horreur! We were devastated for about two seconds but then we walked downstairs into the restaurant and found that the space had gotten an amazing makeover. The grubby, dingy (and yet much beloved) space that Café de Lulu used to inhabit had been transformed into a sleek, modern, clean interior. Our only complaint was that the TV’s were not showing the highly dramatic Chinese soap operas like they used to.
The staff was immediately friendly which is somewhat unusual for Chinatown. We sat down and the hostess walked us through parts of the menu, explaining that the Chinese Barbeque can be ticked off with a marker directly on the menu but that the Mala pot option was not currently ready. We ended up making all of our choices from the main menu which was spiral bound and had many helpful pictures.
I had already read about Hot Eastern’s Cumin Lamb on Yelp and after being somewhat disappointed by China King’s lamb dish a couple of weeks ago, I was ready to try another one. We also ordered Sichuan Dumplings and a Chinese crepe, which was something we had never had before.
The first dish to come out was the Chinese Crepe and I was not quite sure what to expect. I had heard of Jianbing which is a traditional breakfast crepe (see this very helpful article from Serious Eats). When we ordered it, our waiter asked us if we wanted any add-ins, and I asked him what he would recommend. He suggested hot dog (which TBH threw me off) but we went with it. Overall the dish was delightful and HUGE. Two large packets of crepe that had been folded multiple times and stuffed with egg, fried dough, cilantro and spicy hoisin sauce and the aforementioned hot dog. The dish was spicy and tangy and messy to eat but very delicious! The layers of texture and flavor were hard to compare to anything else I have ever eaten.
The Cumin lamb was delicious and slightly spicy—heavily seasoned with cumin, served over a bed of shredded lettuce with steamed buns. Our waiter helpfully informed us to “Eat it like a sandwich!” and so we did. Just be sure to eat the buns as soon as possible because if you return to them later they stop being light and fluffy and start turning into cement.
The final dish was the Sichuan Dumplings which were incredible. There is a delicious version of these at the 5 Spices House, but these went above and beyond them. The dumplings were homemade fat pillows of deliciousness, served swimming in a pool of bright red spicy, but not too spicy, Sichuan sauce.
Each dish here was better than the last. I even asked my Diva compatriot, “How are we going to eat anywhere else, ever?” I think our waiter understood as he waved to us as we left and said “See you tomorrow!”