Cheap Eats: Steamboat
Chinese hot pot
Why go? This hot spot serves Chinese hot pots—burbling stock in which you do the cooking. It’s a hands-on dining style best enjoyed with several others so you can sample many plates without breaking the budget.
What’s the atmosphere like? The decor is stark, but the vibe is alive, with diners jockeying for position at the steaming hot pots while platters of colorful food stream by.
What to order? Start with the half-and-half pot (two flavored broths), and get some noodles. After that, just aim for variety, and stretch your comfort zone. We loved the shrimp balls, pork belly, and kabocha squash. The hot meat skewers are also good. (Check out the lamb.)
How much? The broth starts at $5, and each item adds a few bucks. If you order carefully, a party of four can have a great meal for less than $50.
When is it open? Dinner daily.
Where is it? 1845 Willow Pass Rd., Concord, (925) 246-9999.