I've read about Uncle Liu's and their hotpot menu on http://www.donrockwell.com/, one of my favorite food-related boards. Hotpot is great in the colder months, and a really fun group dining activity. With my boyfriend back home visiting relatives, I had a Friday to myself and decided to gather some fellow hotpot fans to trek out to Falls Church. (A good explanation of the restaurant can be found here: http://tylercowensethnicdiningguide.com/?p=813) The location is a bit confounding for anyone using their iphone mapping function. All three cars ended up lost. The shopping center is anchored by a Gold's Gym, Great Wall supermarket and a Five Guys is located nearby.
We ordered a split pot with half spicy and half mild. The mild broth was a milky concoction of chicken broth with tomato and scallions. The spicy broth included Szechwan peppercorns and red chilies, with a sheen of oil. It's fiery and numbing/burning in a "hurts so good" kind of way.
We ordered Chinese cabbage, spinach, tofu, lamb, tender beef, bean sprouts, mushrooms, chicken, shrimp, lobster balls, meat dumplings and vegetable dumplings. Most of the proteins are frozen.
Due to a shellfish allergy and a beef-intolerance in the group, we had all nonseafood items in the spicy side and no beef in the mild side. Cooking the sliced lamb in the spicy side was recommended by food posts, and be warned that soft items like tofu will absorb the spicy liquid like a sponge. We made a selection of dipping sauces for the table, but next time I would prefer we make our own dipping bowls to dunk cooked food into.
Water was a bit hard to track down, but the TsingTao was nice and refreshing with the spicy hotpot. Looking forward to taking my boyfriend here, and I think he'd love the spicy side. With a group of 6, it ended up about $20 per person, including tip, which is really reasonable.