Goodbye Red Coral......Hello Hot Pots


Bronze Empire

1591 S Colorado Blvd

Red Corral Chinese Restaurant was a staple in the Cory-Merrill neighborhood for 30 years.  My husband grew up going there so when it closed, we were pretty bummed.  When we saw the new sign for Bronze Empire go up we could wait to try it.  Here's how our experience went:

Things We Loved:

  • The Décor.  It was great to see the place get a face lift.  It's modern and cozy, a little more upscale but not stuffy. 
  • The New Experience.  I love dinner with a twist so the hot pot concept was perfect.  You pick your broth, veggies and meat and they bring out this beautiful platter full of fresh ingredients and you get to cook right there at your table.  Awesome experience!
  • The Ingredients.  Veggies were fresh and there was a great selection of traditional ingredients. 
  • The Appetizers.  The recommendation from the waiter was perfect.  Bao buns and cheese wontons were our choice and they were awesome.  My only complaint would be timing.  The bao buns had obviously sat in the window too long as they were cold and the waiter even mentioned they had been back there 10 minutes before he brought them out.

    Things We Didn't:

    • The Smell.  So I should preface this by saying that I am super sensitive to smells.  I smell everything and it has a huge impact for me.  This place smelled like they were using dirty towels to wipe the tables down.  This was a major turnoff but definitely an easy fix.
    • The Server.  I hate to do it because I think he was a nice guy but there were a lot of issues.  Too much time was spent trying to upsell and act charming (which was way over the top) and not enough time was spent with solid explanations.  He seemed unsure of how to order for groups and he didn't explain anything when the food came out.  We actually had to grab another server to explain how to cook everything.  He also didn't write anything down, which is a major pet peeve, and the orders came out wrong in the end.
    • The Inconsistencies.  The ordering was pretty confusing and the broths were really hit or miss.  Mine was awesome but my husbands was seriously lacking. Go for the spicy broths - our pro tip, don't go too spicy, they're not messing around. 
    Here's the thing, I want to love this place.  I live on this side of town and it has the foundation to be a new favorite.  The food is the most important thing and they have that covered.  Take care of the smell and some staff training and we will be in serious business.  We'll be back, but next time without the kids.  This is definitely a place that could be a contender for a hidden hot spot for date night!

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