Cristóbal’s Rating: BETTER THAN NOTHING
- Warning: Stinky Tofu (not actually stinky)
- Sketchy strip mall
- Fresh alternative to Houston’s Chinatown staples
If you are familiar with the Taiwanese stinky tofu hot pot specialty restaurant, Boiling Point, this is essentially Houston’s local version of it–Smelly Pot. Let us, for now, ignore the obvious fact that almost anyone could have come up with a more appetizing name, the restaurant is actually located in a unbeknownst and slightly sketchy ‘new’ strip mall in the lesser roads of Bellaire’s Chinatown. Woefully forgotten and marginalized, it is neighbor to a moreso sketchy private club facility with storefronts covered in black and only the shimmering shadows of neon bar lights escaping through the cracks. But back to Smelly Pot–the restaurant was surprisingly large and modernly furnished, with dim interiors illuminated with multicolored lights that echoed those next door. On a Saturday evening there was altogether about two or three tables of patrons. The Vietnamese waiters will explain the different kind of hot pots (large and small) and then proceed to recommend the Smelly Pot (with stinky tofu). I ordered one out of necessity, and it is certainly smelly, but definitely a toned-down non-stinky pot of assorted goodies. The food was actually not bad for being what I think is the only restaurant of its type in Houston. Unfortunately its location seems to be in an unfamiliar spot, but if it succeeds, it may bring more people into that plaza.