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Get Hot Pot With Your Comrades At This New Chinese Communist-Themed Restaurant
There's a gimmick with every themed restaurant and the latest addition to the San Gabriel Valley is one that may leave you either offended, entertained or both. Private Party, a reference to China's Communist Party, is a new Communist Chinese-themed hot pot restaurant laden with propaganda-inspired posters as well as waiters dressed in head-to-toe garb as Mao Zedong's Red Army soldiers.
There's wordplay with the Chinese name of the restaurant, which sounds like the four leaders who rose to power after Mao Zedong's death. Interesting décor and wordplay aside, the owners—four friends from Northern China who asked not to be named—told LAist they wanted to bring their love of traditional Beijing-style hot pot to the United States.
Located on the third floor of Atlantic Place, a plaza that was once a popular go-to back in the '90s, Private Party specializes in Beijing-style hot pot. The hot pot is different from others in that it has a unique middle section that is filled with charcoal, which serves as an area to grill skewered meat and veggies. The owners said that they had every single copper hot pot custom made in China and brought to the United States since the original pots they were inspired by did not have room to grill skewers all in one. Also, a slight change to the traditional form, Private Party's hot pot allows for up to two flavors of broth at a time, unlike the traditional Beijing style, which only uses water.
"We wanted to update the tradition and make it more enjoyable, while still bringing authentic Beijing-style hot pot to our customers," said one of the owners. "We wanted Private Party to feel like home, as if guests were just dining in their dining room."
For those trying Private Party for the first time, the first thing you have to do is decide what broth(s) to order. I ordered half non-spicy and half tomato broth. There are spicy broths available as well. Next, you need to decide on what meats and vegetables to order off the paper menu. Be aware that Private Party is not all-you-can-eat. Each plate is a la carte. Private Party’s options are extensive, ranging from lamb shoulder, pork belly, USDA rib-eye, tiger shrimp, fish balls with roe, taro, okra, and udon, to more unique options like snails and frog. Of course, it's perfectly fine just to stick with pork, chicken, or beef options for less adventurous eaters.
After checking off the orders, diners can make their way to the sauce bar, which has 14 or more sauces and toppings like garlic paste, shoyu, sesame sauce, sesame oil, chili paste, satay sauce and green onions, to name a few. For those who want to order skewers, there is a large double-pane refrigerator with shelves of options such as chicken wings, beef, pork, chicken, shrimp and gizzard.
The ingredients are very fresh and the hot pot broths are quite tasty, especially the tomato broth. The skewers on the hot pot are a good idea in theory, however, it is difficult to gauge when a skewer is thoroughly cooked. Of all the seafood and meat options, the pork belly is a standout. Each slice is meticulously hung on a wooden board for presentation. On top of the extensive sauce collection, Private Party also has three seasonings—cumin, salt and spicy mix—that go well with the hot pot ingredients. And it's not just hot pot either, there are also appetizers like tofu and thousand-year-old egg, noodle dishes, as well as dessert on the menu. Staying true to the Beijing theme, Private Party also serves Beijing yogurt, which is sweet and sour in taste and very soothing after a hot pot experience.
Private Party is located at 111 N. Atlantic Blvd. in Monterey Park, (626) 872-0599. It's open daily, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.