I was stumbling down Washington Street the other night, in search of some post-drinking noodles, when I came across a sleek-looking lounge that stood out amidst the rows of hole-in-the-wall Asian take-out spots. What’s this place doing here, my friend asked. Well, it’s not your parents’ Chinatown anymore.
That’s a good thing, says Matt McCoy, general manager of Q, the Mongolian hotpot restaurant and lounge that opened earlier this week. “There’s nothing else like this place around here. We’re hoping everyone steps up and follows suit, and this area makes a transformation.”
Seems like it already has. To say this modern space — with a mahogany-hued dining area, polished granite bar and exposed marble walls — doesn’t fit the Chinatown stereotype is an understatement. For years, this site used to be home to a peep show.
The premise of the menu here, which also includes a sushi bar, is that diners dip their food into fondu-style pots resting on induction heating plates on the tables. But more remarkable may be the addition of a bar that takes its spirits and cocktails seriously in the neighborhood. Classics showing up on the menu are given minor Asian-influenced twists. The Perfect GQ is a perfect Rob Roy made with Yamazaki 12-year single malt whiskey; The Q-Tini is a heated fusion of Wasabi Sake Vodka, Quintessential Gin, Canton ginger liqueur and pickled ginger. Elsewhere, McCoy pays homage to resurgent tiki-style cocktails like the Singapore Sling and a traditional Mai Tai made with crushed ice. “These are real cocktails,” McCoy says. “It’s beautiful.” No word yet on whether they’ll be serving “cold tea” in here late at night, but we’ll see how the neighborhood rubs off on them.
The Q Restaurant
660 Washington St., Chinatown, Boston