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Hot pot dining: Innovative dishes star at The X Pot
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Hot pot dining: Innovative dishes star at The X Pot

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X marks the spot for flavorful and creative recipes in Chicago.

The X Pot is one of the newest eateries to open in Chicago. The restaurant is all the rage for out-of-the-ordinary dishes and cool, contemporary Asian-American inspired fare focusing on the hot pot cooking tradition.

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"Our goal is to introduce 'hot pot' to mainstream (U.S) diners," said David Zhao, co-founder of The X Pot. "Chicago is a very vibrant food city," he said, adding it's the perfect place to open this exciting restaurant concept.

The X Pot officially opened in December at Chicago's South Loop's Roosevelt Collection Shops. The first location of The X Pot was in Las Vegas. The Windy City location is The X Pot's second property.

Asian-style Hot Pot dining is similar to French-style Fondue in that diners cook their own food in hot pots filled with bubbly broth all while enjoying a communal eating and cooking experience.

Zhao said the goal with The X Pot is "always to bridge the gap" between cultures with the food experience.

"When we first started, people didn't really know what Hot Pot was," he said.

"It's a fun dining experience," Zhao said. He added The X Pot takes this traditional dining format to a much more elevated level. Spectacular plate settings, creative recipes, fresh ingredients along with robotic servers to assist human servers all add up to a splashy and dynamic dining environment with much to see and taste throughout the evening.

There are also 5D projections along the walls of the restaurant. While visiting, guests will easily feel as though it's an artistic experience as well as a culinary adventure.

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Zhao said The X Pot experience is definitely an immersive one. These days, when everyone is so removed from one another, he said "it's nice to be able to interact with each other" in a dining situation.

At The X Pot guests may order a la carte or choose one of the Chef's Tasting Menus. A variety of selections are featured on the menu. On the Chef's Tasting Menu guests will find everything from salad and appetizers to a Wagyu Platter, Sound of the Sea Seafood Platter, assorted vegetables and dessert.

All guests also choose a soup base in which they'll cook all ingredients. Among soup bases are Golden Chicken, Ocean Lobster, Red Tomato Pot and Earthy Mushroom.

Assorted sauces and condiments are also placed on the table to use after ingredients are cooked. Diners also shouldn't be surprised when food shows up shaped like a swan, a goose, bear or other creature. Guests can even marvel at plates that have rings of smoke swirling around them. It's dining that appeals to all of the senses. And that is certainly all part of the wow factor at The X Pot.

Zhao said they are always open to experimentation at the restaurant. "There are so many different ingredients. We're always updating what's available," he said.

According to Zhao, guests may also customize their meal to adjust to any dietary restrictions. Diners planning to visit The X Pot are currently required to make reservations.

FYI: The X Pot is located at Roosevelt Collection Shops, 1143 S. Delano Court East, Chicago. For more information and to make reservations, call 312-585-8655 or visit thexpot.com.

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.

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