For a limited time every year, Little Sheep offers an All-You-Can-Eat (AYCE) special on Tuesdays for $19.99/person.
People familiar with hot pot in the San Diego area, and with hot pot at Little Sheep know what a good deal this is. Dubbed “Crazy Tuesdays,” you can imagine the crowd on Tuesdays as people try to get in on the deal.
Most hot pot offerings in San Diego cost about $20-25 for AYCE, and the food options are quite limited and the quality of ingredients is not very good. Little Sheep, a popular chain from China, has gained a lot of popularity because of their high quality cuts of meat (the meats practically melt in your mouth) and wide variety of hot pot ingredients. Unfortunately, they usually charge per plate, and the plates add up rather quickly and can end up being a pricey meal.
I’ve always been tempted to try the Crazy Tuesday special, but didn’t want to deal with the wait and crowds. Recently I had several conversations with a frequent commenter on my blog, Faye, and she really got me interested in checking it out. She even left me a helpful tip that Little Sheep allows reservations for parties of 6 or more.
So I gathered the troops, and we made a reservation for a Tuesday night. When we arrived, there was a huge crowd waiting. I’ve always found that the management is a little disorganized at Little Sheep, and it was even more apparent on this Tuesday. Having a reservation turned out not to do much good. They only allow reservations for 5:30 and 7:30, so we were one of many groups waiting for a 7:30 reservation. There were tables available in the back, but it just took the waiters forever to seat everyone. So we ended up being seated 40 minutes after we arrived. Not a good start.
Once seated, no one came to help us or give us a menu. A large group was seated next to us and decided to get up and move to another table. The table next to us was then left empty for the rest of the night despite there being people waiting for a table.
Finally we flagged down a waiter and was given a menu to order from. Almost everything on the menu is available except for the dishes crossed out and the cooked food sections. Each person is allowed to order three items at a time. This may be an issue for a small group, but since we had eight people, that meant we could order 24 plates at once.
Once we put in our order, I was surprised at how fast everything came together. Within five minutes, we had our pot on the stove, and almost all of our 24 plates. We were given a small serving table to hold most of our plates of food.
Little Sheep’s broths are flavored with lots of herbs. You can choose from original, spicy, half and half and a vegetarian broth. None of us particularly enjoy the spicy one so we decided to just have the original one.
I only snapped a few pictures of some of the plates we ordered. I realize raw food isn’t very appetizing to look at, but shriveled up piles of food after being cooked in broth isn’t so appetizing to look at either. Plus I had to stop taking pictures and fight for my share of food. The standout food items are their supreme cuts of lamb and beef which practically melt in your mouth and only need a quick dip in the hot broth. Their house made fish balls, shrimps balls and fish paste are also pretty good and items that you won’t find at other hot pot places.
The waiters were quick to come around and collect plates as soon as they were empty. And we were able to order more food quite easily, though they did forget some of our orders. Despite the restaurant closing at 9pm, last call for food wasn’t until 9:30pm, so we were able to eat to our heart’s content.
So while the initial service was disorganized and frustrating, once we started ordering, the food flowed fast and freely. I had worried that it would take us a long time to get our food, but this wasn’t the case. We never had to wait around for our plates, and we were able to enjoy our meal.
There was an announcement on yelp announcing Crazy Tuesdays, but I no longer see the announcement and I’m not sure when the special runs until. I remember there was a sign inside the store as well. I think it runs through most of the summer, ending some time in September.
Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
4718 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92117