Little Lamb – Boston, Massachusetts

First Taste: Khan Do Spirit

Mary had a little lamb—and then she ate it. At least, that’s the idea at Beacon Hill’s new Mongolian hot pot–style restaurant. Although it’s a chain with nearly 600 locations in China, Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom, Little Lamb has yet to tap into the American market. Until now. Turns out, they’re probably the only ones who came to Boston for the weather. “There are a couple of reasons we like Boston’s environment,” says Wincy Chin, general manager. “It’s educated, and it’s a historic city. Also the weather was a factor for our decision. We are a hot pot restaurant—people like that in the wintertime, and here there’s a long winter. It will keep you warm.”

Located on Cambridge St. in the Spotted Apron’s old space, the 64-seat eatery has floor-to-ceiling windows, and guests are greeted just inside the door by a miniature grass pasture, complete with grazing figurines—a nod to the vast grasslands of Mongolia. Lamb, says Chin, is a staple in Mongolian cuisine. “People think that if you eat the lamb,” she says, “it’s the best taste, nutrition, everything.”

Built into the center of each table is an electric warmer which keeps the broth bubbling hot. Though the menu is varied and somewhat mysterious—tomato broth with luncheon slices, anyone?—it includes Mongolian BBQ and Chinese favorites, such as steamed stuffed buns and scallion pancakes. There are nearly two dozen à la carte vegetables to choose from, a self-serve sauce station and a mix of noodles, both prepared and for the hot pot. Eight different broths poach your vegetables and thinly sliced meat of choice, be it lamb, short rib, chicken, tripe or head-on shrimp and other seafood. It’s enough to satisfy an appetite of continental dimensions. Here’s lookin’ at you, Genghis.

Little Lamb 326 Cambridge St., Boston, littlelambusa.com

This article originally appeared in the April 10, 2013, issue of The Improper Bostonian.