This communal, fondue-esque dining experience provides ample reason to linger at the table.
Indulge with a Chinese hot pot from the Bronze Empire. Photo by Jennifer Olson.
When the flurries inevitably fly this month (Colorado’s snowiest, historically), you’ll find us getting warm from the inside out via Chinese hot pot at the eight-month-old Bronze Empire on South Colorado Boulevard. The communal, fondue-esque dining experience heats up as your server plunks down a metal pot filled with the flavored broth of your choice—we love the spicy version’s moderate kick. Individual table burners bring the savory liquid to a vigorous simmer. Co-owner and Beijing native Tian Xia makes it easy to choose what goes into your pot by offering a variety of combinations, from the tofu combo (fresh tofu, porous frozen tofu, tofu skins, and a bounty of fresh veggies) to meatier options such as the Empire’s tender rib-eye and brisket, pork belly, and crispy ramen noodles. You’ll soon figure out the ideal amount of time to dunk each item: three quick seconds for tenderloin; a full five minutes for hearty cabbage leaves. The broth’s flavor intensifies as it bubbles away, providing ample reason to linger at the table (and stay out of the cold).