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Chinese hotpot restaurant opens in Amherst

A Chinese hotpot chain called Little Lamb has opened a restaurant in Amherst.

The restaurant, at 3188 Sheridan Drive, is the fifth Little Lamb outlet in the United States, said Scott Li, an owner. It opened March 19.

Hotpot, which has its roots in Mongolia, is “really good for long winters,” Li said. “Hotpot is good for a sense of warmness, and beef and lamb can be especially enjoyed in wintertime.” Little Lamb’s goal is to provide authentic flavors from mainland China. “We wanted to open the gates to real Chinese food, not only for Chinese, but for everyone to enjoy,” he said.

Little Lamb is the second hotpot restaurant to open in Amherst. The first, Boiling Point, opened last year next to 80 China Cafe, at 1280 Sweet Home Road. Hotpot is also available at China Star, a Sichuan specialist at 4001 Sheridan Drive.

Hotpot is a meal involving a simmering pot of broth and platters of ingredients, which are cooked in the broth before being eaten. In that way, it’s similar to shabu-shabu, or non-cheese-based fondues. Thinly sliced meats, with several cuts of lamb a specialty, are a main attraction. But there are also platters of seafood, vegetables, tofu, noodles, and meatballs, among other options. Diners are encouraged to create custom dipping sauces from an array of custom condiments.

A divider in the pot can allow tables to try two kinds of broth, such as herbal, tomato and spicy varieties. Chinese pastries and Mongolian barbecue dishes, prepared in the kitchen, are also available.

Diners can choose between dining-only tables, with no spending requirements, and karaoke booths, which require at least $150 in food and beverage purchases. That entitles booth occupants to three hours of karaoke as well as dinner.

The restaurant plans to serve beer, but does not have its license yet. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Weekend reservations recommended. Phone: 834-0218.

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