Four pairs of chopsticks hungrily snatch and tear at sublimely cooked and seasoned meats that are peeling off of a scorching aluminum pan. Smoke, the smell of seared flesh and teeth eagerly gnawing away are all that remain of the skirmish. Without hesitation the next batch of meats are thrown atop of the grill, and the anticipation kicks in once again.

The above scene plays out time and again at Q-Pot, the newest Korean BBQ (KBBQ) and hot pot restaurant to hit San Jose’s East Side. It’s rare for a Korean restaurant to offer up both KBBQ and hot pot, but Q-Pot is an exception. Their all-you-can-eat (AYCE) KBBQ for lunch ($15.99) and dinner ($24.99 Mon-Thu 5pm; Fri. 3pm; and Sat-Sun all day) come with a slight upcharge ($3) for the hot pot. An assortment of banchan (Korean side dishes) is delivered to each table and range from the typical kimchi to some kind of sweet mashed potato dish that was addictive. Their nifty tablet ordering system is sleek and efficient. With a straightforward interface one can order up the entire oeuvre of meats, soups, drinks and even hail someone to bring out a new grilling surface.

My one qualm about Q-Pot’s menu is that if one person wants hot pot—then everyone gets hot pot. I really wanted to sample their soup, but my cohorts were salivating for a meat-fueled frenzy. After some finagling, we were able to get the manager to relent on this rule. On that note, I ordered the Thai tom yum with thin-sliced beef, shiitake mushrooms, fried tofu and udon noodles. The broth was sweet, spicy and sour, and there were plenty of goodies in it to satisfy any soup lover. I had to stop myself halfway through so I wouldn’t be too full.

The lunchtime AYCE has a paired-down menu compared to the dinner, which has more “Korean-style meats” (e.g. beef tongue, beef belly, baby octopus). That said, the lunch menu still had plenty of tender morsels to choose from, including marinated pork bellies, pork cheeks, brisket, spicy shrimp and rib-eye steaks. While the pork bellies are always at the top of everyone’s list, we all agreed that the spicy pork bulgogi was the clear winner. If cooked correctly the (not-so) spicy marinade created an irresistibly crispy char.

Q-Pot’s grill-it-yourself KBBQ offers up a primal experience of sitting around a fire and cooking meat with friends, but in a hip and modern atmosphere. The only caveman-like grunts come from the delight of seeing the next round of meats brought forth. Go hungry and be ready for a fight.

Q-Pot Korean BBQ & Hot Pot 
1610 E Capitol Expwy, San Jose.