First, a quick lesson.
“Swish-swish-swoosh-swoosh” – that is how you Shabu-Shabu, literally. The quicker sibling of Korean BBQ (the self-cook kind), Shabu-Shabu is the same concept but focused around an individual pot of piping broth. Don’t be daunted.
At California Shabu Shabu on Broadway, you can use forks or chopsticks, and while you will need to start your meal staring at ribbons of raw meat, the surrounding complimentary dishes will dominate with such exciting distractions that you’ll forget you’re playing 30-second chef with each bite.
Tip: Who doesn’t like Happy Hour?
At California Shabu Shabu you can have $4 beer and $3 hot/mixed/cold sake from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. everyday and from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
If you are like me and have zero patience, you’ll like the pace of the restaurant.
Thirty seconds after you stake your seat they’ll turn on your burner and hand you a menu. As you consider your taste and strength of appetite (select from chicken, three cuts of beef, salmon, pork, shrimp, vegetarian, scallops, mussels in six different sizes: regular to donkey kong) you’ll receive a customizable plate of vegetables (tofu, cabbage, sprouts, onion, broccoli etc.) and two customizable dipping sauces (ponzu and sesame) as well as a bowl of rice.
Can’t decide what kind of meat you want? Order a combo and pick two. If you can’t decide what cut of beef, go for Prime. It’s perfectly marbled and it’s what the owners and staff suggest.
As expected, your platter of uncooked meat arrives fast. Luckily, cooking each piece happens even faster – simply pick up a piece, dunk it around in the pot of broth, dip it in a sauce, dab it on the rice, and eat.
At some point you’ll want to toss the veggies in to the broth so they have time to soften and take on flavor.
Once you’ve successfully bulldozed through your main meal – wait! You are not done yet.
Let the noodles slide in to the broth and let ‘em swish around a bit.
Squirt in some flavor from the stable of multiple squeeze bottles at your disposal, pull the bowl containing a soup base under your chin, use the tongs and soup ladle to transfer the contents of the pot to the bowl, and pick up your soup spoon for round two!
It’s okay if you’re full, grab a to-go container and enjoy it tomorrow. Personally, I think soup tastes better the next day, anyway.
Since few can say no to dessert, if you can seal the meal with an order of the black sesame ice cream. Now that is how you shabu-shabu.
California Shabu Shabu
Category: Lunch, happy hour, dinner
Company: Everyone, especially those who
like to play with their food