Tonight @misseileensoo and I ventured out to Dolar Shop’s newest and second location in the Lower Mainland. Located at Station Square, Burnaby.
I have always found it comical that this luxury hot pot brand’s name is so close to “Dollar Shop”. And I surmise, that most people are like me, and think of the two in conjunction. In reality, it could not be further from the truth. This is right up there on the list of $$$$ hot pot options. With market price seafood served fresh and premium meats that come with premium prices. You get what you pay for with this one.
Hopefully you are not like me, and you have the skills to cook it like you ought to, to best enjoy it. I also do you have the patience to learn. My thoughts on hot pot is, it is an activity to eat around, so it isn’t my focus, I just want to set it and forget it. Dump it in and fish it out. Not the mention despite how long you boil it for, it all ends up tasting like the sauce you dip it into anyways.
But I digress, for the hot pot purists, who take care in the preparation and follow the server’s directions on how to cook them and for how long, this is the destination for you. Great service, premium ingredients, some of the best broths I have ever had, all in a opulent setting.
The staff are great at explaining everything and checking in. It has been so long since I felt this looked after at a restaurant. You are given a tutorial on how to use their iPad menu, how to scroll, what to look out for, and then how to place your order. It is great to have the photos accessible like this, especially as some of the ingredients may be foreign to those less experienced in hot pot. Plus you can better anticipate where your money is going when you order $55 worth of thinly sliced beef on a plate.
As you wait, your sever brings a specialized sauce caddy to your table. Each individual’s sauce is prepared at the table to their specifications, including how much chilli they would like. This is their house sauce which is a mix of garlic, green onion, soy sauce, and a paste. I opted in for their additional sauces on the side, which was a shrimp paste and peanut butter base spread. All of which I found necessary as to change the flavour in between bites, and to keep what is the essentially boiled up in the same broth interesting.
You get a few small appetizers to start, but with all the food to come we didn’t really didn’t pick at any of it. This included some edamame, kimchi, and cantaloupe chunks.
In terms of ordering: it is worth noting that they also have cooked food available; because sometimes it is nice to nibble on something as you wait for your broth to boil and your vegetables to cook. This was their Wagyu Pancake. More dough then meat, you only got a thin layer of shredded beef. I could have used some chives to freshen up the serving. And it also would have been nice to have a sauce on the side for dipping, something with a hoisin base for a slightly sweet, yet tangy flavour.
They also have beer and sake available for drinks. Not many people order alcohol at hot pot cause the intention is to over eat, plus beer is heavy and fills you up faster. Although they do let you pack up any leftovers to go, but reality, the good is best cooked to order, fresh.
We each got our own soup base, served in small individually sized pots. Each pot is surrounded by a protective ceramic covering, shielding the diner from its open flame. I nice safety precaution with aesthetic branding.
The Black Truffle soup base was new and with limited quantities available daily, we had to give it a try. The soup is a wild mushroom broth. The truffle comes on the side as two fairly substantial slices that you get to add into the broth as you see fit. As an added deluxe step, they also bring out a whole truffle cloched under glass during this presentation. This display is to allow you to smell the fragrant truffle, and to know where your pieces are come from.
Truth be told, for me it was more about the show and the presentation. I tried the mushroom as is and sipped on the flavoured soup, but didn’t find that the truffle really added to or alter anything. Still, no regrets on this order. Especially as after boiling and eating, the broth makes an amazing soup. And if you are like me, by this point you have eaten so much that you can’t finish said soup, simply pack it home to enjoy on a empty stomach.
We also got one of their split pots in their sliver soup and spicy Szechuan. I like the split option as it gives you more longevity and versatility in your meal. The ability to cook in one flavour and season with another.
The silver soup comes with pieces of chicken and intestine on the side. Like with the truffle soup base, you add in it when and how you want. This was a mild chicken broth with a unique white creamy finish.
The Szechuan was too spicy for Eileen, but I found it only mildly hot. This would be the broth I used the most of, as it injected the most flavour into my meat and vegetables.
Be sure to request one of their bibs, things get messy and they are great as a splash guard.
I won’t be going into how each individual element tasted, as it does depend on how which broth you selected, how long you cooked it for, and how much sauce you dipped it into. Instead, here is what we ordered as our raw ingredients to cook. We found it a great mix of textures and an even balance of meat to everything else.
Boneless wagyu, boneless short rib beef, kurobuta pork shoulder collar, jumbo scallop, lotus root, veggie basket, quail eggs, and seaweed knots. My favourite are the seaweed knots and lotus, they are fun to eat as they glide between your teeth, and they are both fun to look at. I was surprised by how sweet the corn was out of season. And the meats cooked so fast and tender.
We ate our fill and packed everything to go. After we had already left and I posted my experience of our dinner, several foodies messaged me to inquire about the ice cream. Apparently there is complimentary ice cream to end your meal on. This might be hearsay, but as many miniature cones as you want, each topped with a macaron. Sadly our serving team, as attentive as they were, missed this. The restaurant did reach out to explain and apologize, which was classy.
And before you go, visit the washroom. I am a fan of neon lights and the ones in the washrooms are not only fun and photogenic, but they are informative as well.
In short, this is definitely is a bougie spot, for finer dining, hot pot edition. Everything is so well curated and presented, just be prepared to pay for what you get. And pay attention to it after, as it is a shame to waste your premium cuts of meat by neglecting your heat.
The Dolar Shop Burnaby
6078 Silver Dr, Burnaby, BC V5H 0H5