Foodie Files: The Bronze Empire
I’m at home one evening, scrolling through my Facebook timeline, and I see a video of The Bronze Empire completed by Westword and knew I had to check this place out! I immediately put on my shoes, hopped in the car, and drove there. Unfortunately, they had a small fire that day and were closed (but invited me back with a discount coupon).
A week later, I ventured back for lunch. I wanted to try out one of their hot pots, which I’ve never experienced before. For lunch, they have four of their hot pots available (more and a la carte hot pots are available for dinner). My server, Amy, was super friendly and helpful in navigating the menu and options. There are four pot flavors to choose from (spicy, mushroom, tomato, and plain) and four broths to choose from as the base (beef, vegetable, chicken, pork). The meal also comes with different dipping sauces—spicy hoisin, sesame, and mint-cilantro.
I ordered a Spicy, Beef hot pot. Amy asked me what level of hot—1 through 5. Uh oh. I like spicy food, but wanted to be careful, so I ordered a 3. Then I ordered the Tianshan Combination—Beef tenderloin, beef tri tip, pork belly, king trumpet mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms, napa cabbage, snow peas, broccoli, lettuce, and ramen noodles. However, I did swap the mushrooms for cauliflower and bean sprouts because I’m not a fan of mushrooms (I know, I know). Amy came back with my pot and set the temperature to allow the initial sauce and spices boil right at my table. So cool!
My hot pot was amazing!!!! The spice was a bit much for me (which I rarely say) and I would order a 1 in the future—the hot pot is so flavorful; I did not need that much spice. However, ladies at a table nearby order 5-level spice and appeared to be doing just fine. I inserted different veggie and meat combos and everything was excellent. I would definitely recommend the pork belly if you order a la carte. Once cooked in the hot pot, its juicy, tender, and the fat gives the meat and the hot pot a ton of flavor. The veggies soaked up the flavors and the sauces added to everything. I WILL be back to this place regularly and it’s a great place for a group, out-of-town guests, or a date. The Bronze Empire is definitely a must-see/must-eat.