SOUTH LOOP — Chicago is a city that loves a good hot pot, and X-Pot — the newest addition to South Loop’s Roosevelt Collection Shops — aims to give local diners a hot pot experience they’ll never forget.
The restaurant at 1147 S. Delano Court East quietly opened in December, over a year after the first X-Pot debuted on the Las Vegas strip. Another outpost in Los Angeles followed. Founders David Zhao and Harby Yang hope to expand to other parts of the country, with one X-Pot in every tri-state area, Marketing and Events Director Jerry Ngo told Block Club.
While plans for a huge New Year’s Eve grand opening celebration were derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic surge, that hasn’t stopped the steady stream of patrons coming through the door, said Ngo, adding that a celebration is still in the works.
X-Pot’s sleek decor, thematic soundscapes, animated light installations (ornate, interactive animations are projected onto diners’ plates in their exclusive 5D Experience Room) and live DJ sets give diners an “upscale, multi-sensory experience” as they enjoy their food. While the restaurant’s four-course Wagyu tasting menu ($98 per person) is a hit with hot pot newbies, the bar food offerings — namely, the X Special Sushi Rolls ($18 and up) — have been keeping X-Pot’s happy hours busy.
“We have a great selection of sushi that isn’t available in our Vegas and Los Angeles locations. When the clock strikes 5, people are coming in and heading to the bar,” said Ngo.
Cocktails like the Red Phoenix ($15), a mix of bourbon, pomegranate juice and lime-almond syrup, and Kemuri X ($15), which features Japanese vermouth, complement the bar menu well, Ngo said.
Also a hit? The robot servers. Designed to give patrons a seamless experience, they trail behind their human counterparts delivering delicately arranged menu items to guests.
“All the robots learn how to dodge certain items while they’re on the floor via the trackpad on top of the restaurant. They even know how to maneuver around the DJ booth,” said Ngo. “But some of the robots do develop a bit of an attitude towards the end of the night and refuse to get out of a servers’ way unless that server gets out of their way first.”
There’s also the Supper Club, a concept the restaurant rolled out earlier this month where night owls can kick off their evening with a special menu available from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, which they hope to expand to other nights as they continue training new staff.
The X-Pot is open Thursday – Monday from noon – 3 p.m. and 5 – 10 p.m., with late night dining available Friday and Saturday until 2 a.m.
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Author: Jamie Nesbitt Golden