Kieu Cao was a fan of the Asian hot pot restaurants in Boston where she studied fashion merchandising.
Now she’s brought the idea to Kansas City, opening Q Hot Pot Japanese Fondue & Asian Tapas Bar on Thursday with longtime boyfriend Vinh Luong.
They took out a one-year lease at 8610 N.W. Prairie View Road, at the main entrance of Zona Rosa, and began working on the spot last fall.
Customers first select a broth — chicken or vegetarian. Broth flavorings are extra — such as Korean Kimchi, Thai Tom Yum, Japanese Miso and Tomato Veggie for $2.50, or Mongolian-style Chinese Spicy and Vietnamese-style Pho Beef for $4.50. The broth is cooked fresh daily, and the meat is marinated overnight.
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The metal pot of stock simmers on an induction cooking top at the center of the table as customers select from a variety of ingredients to add — prime ribeye, sirloin, short ribs, salmon, scallops, squid, shrimp, clam, chicken, pork, lamb, vegetables, tofu and more — all at varying prices. The Japanese style of cooking also is known as shabu shabu, Cao said.
“They call it shabu because when it is cooked, when the broth is boiling, it makes that sound,” Cao said. “But every Asian country has its version of hot pot. It’s a healthier choice.”
The new restaurant also offers sushi and small plates including veggie rolls, egg rolls, grilled honey garlic pork, calamari rings, chicken lettuce wraps, edamame, crab Rangoon, sweet potato fries and popcorn chicken.
The bar area is divided into three sections: a sushi bar, cocktail bar, and a boba tea and smoothie bar. Q Hot Pot also features Korean soju, a vodka-like rice liquor.
Cao was born in South Vietnam and moved to the U.S. when she was 7 years old. Kieu is pronounced “Q,” thus the Q in the restaurant’s name. She met Luong when both were vacationing in Vietnam in 2001.
“We wanted a fun, casual environment where you can hang out with friends,” Cao said. “In my country they have happy hour, and this is the kind of food they like to eat and drink.”
Coming to Martini Corner
Longtime restaurant and bar owners Eddie Crane and Vince Rook are teaming up on a yet-to-be-named “classic American bar” in the former Haus space on Martini Corner.
Rook owns the building at 3044 Gillham Road. Crane was a co-founder of the Drop on Martini Corner. They plan to open their new bar by early May.
“You go to a bar to have alcohol and interact with old friends and new people. It’s not highly complicated,” Crane said. “This won’t be the next new trend. It will be tried-and-true. This will be the American version of the local British bar. Every town had a pub that people would go to, but each one had its own personality.”
Crane and Rook have gutted the spot and will put in a stamped tin ceiling to give it that “always been here” feel. It will have four 3-foot long tables to form one long community table on the west side, as well as a patio.
Menu items will include savory hand pies, wings with Zim’s Sauce, and steak sandwiches using meat from local vendors. A Workingman’s Friend special will be a beer and shot for $6.
Haus opened in May 2012 and featured an “Old World style of German/Belgian beers and gourmet, exotic sausages.” It closed in January.
To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC.