Restaurant Review: Dancing Fish Collagen Hotpot (舞鱼美人胶原锅)

Hi!!! I hope everyone enjoyed Lantern Festival. I actually didn’t end up watching much of the gala since it was a weekday 😦 Anyways, I had a great time  and will make it up with an amazing lunch with my aunt and grandpa on Sunday!

Well, now that celebrations are over, I have more time (and stomach space) for food adventures, so I took full advantage of this freedom to visit a restaurant I’ve put off for FAR too long

舞鱼美人胶原锅

A few weeks ago, I ventured into the new L+ mall and revisited Takumi Robatayaki. It was great, but I’ll be honest, I was actually planning to try Dancing Fish. It’s famous for it’s Japanese collagen hot pot and just hearing the name brought back memories of the indescribably thick and umami broth I first tried a few years back in Tokyo. I was determined to get another pot- full of that broth in, until I saw this:

 

I’m patient  when it comes to food, but I was pretty hungry and tired from serious Capstone work that morning and the 60+min wait just wasn’t going to happen.

This week, my dad and I headed out early and managed to get in. Still, within 10 minutes, this happened:

Given that lines are a sign of success, I was more than excited. Let’s eat!

Food

Signature Collagen Hot Pot- For those who don’t know, collagen broth is made by stewing chcken carcass with tremella for 8+hours until the broth is thick, white and contains enough collagen to immunize me against arthritis. Needless to say, my expectations for this broth were more than high, yet this dish still managed to exceed expectations. Nothing could have prepared me for the perfect umami. More impressively, the broth was not only thick and layered, as expected, but silky and did not cling unpleasantly to the tongue. The broth remained clean, even after the addition of some very fatty beef. An order comes with veggies and fatty beef, so be mindful when adding extras

Of course a couple thin slices of beef and veggies aren’t enough to feed a grown man and foodie. Luckily, Dancing Fish offers some creative takes on some Japanese classics. Here’s what else we got.

Golden Kimchi- Pickles are one of my “must order” items at any Asian restaurant, but they’re usually not special enough to mention. Well, the “Golden Kimchi” had a perfect balance of sweet acidity in combination with a unique creaminess that definitely makes it worth the list.

Eel Nigiri- I’ve been on an eel kick lately, but didn’t want to take up precious stomach space with a full grilled eel, so I made a compromise and ordered this instead. I wasn’t disappointed, but not terribly impressed either. The eel was tender and the rice was both perfectly portioned and seasoned; however, it was oversauced for my taste and I missed the crunchy char from a proper grilled eel.

Foie Gras nigiri- Recently, I just can’t seem to resist foie gras. To my luck, foie gras nigiri was actually one of the restaurant’s most popular items. It answered all my foie gras dreams. It was perfectly tender and simply melted in my mouth. As for the sauce, I’m usually not a fan, but the sweetness perfectly cut through the richness

Grilled Beef Tendon- What’s Japanese food without some yakitori. Since Dancing Fish is known for it’s collagen hot pot, I thought I might as well take it up a notch with some beef tendon. It was stupid tender with pleasant bits of char. However, they added too much hot oil, which took away from the pure taste of the tendon

While the food was good, I really missed the traditional taste- ie less sauce, less oil, less mayo, less “specialty rolls”. I guess part of its success does come from appealing to the “heavier” modern palates, but all the sauces and gimmicks aren’t my cup of tea.

Also, come early- popular items sell out quick.

Service and Atmosphere

Dancing Fish is in a very busy mall surrounded by other busy restaurants; however, walking in felt like entering another world. The decour is definitely Japanese, but casual and modern- colorful and busy rather than the elegant simplicity of more upscale and traditional places. The tight setup and low hanging decour gave the entire restaurant the atmosphere of a delicious, crowded alleyway where street food reigns supreme, I highly recommend it for a casual dinner or date, but it’s definitely not suited for larger parties.

Service was fairly good. The staff were incredibly courteous and even wrote down our comments. We didn’t order any dishes that required tableside presentation (some of their specialties), but the staff were on top of things with their blowtorches. The food also came out fairly quickly. With that said, the restaurant seemed quite understaffed as the wait staff often ignored us as they rushed around trying to tend to every table

Overall Impression

Dancing Fish was definitely worth the visit and I highly recommend it- despite the wait. I’ll definitely be coming back soon, especially given how close it is.

I hope everyone has a great, delicious week!

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Restaurant Review: Dancing Fish Collagen Hotpot (舞鱼美人胶原锅)

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