Shabu House | Other Suburbs North | Japanese | Restaurant
Shabu shabu for those who don't want to share.

Our Review

If, as some claim, Genghis Khan truly invented the hot pot as a practical way to feed his screaming hordes, he couldn’t possibly have envisioned the day that people would sit on chairs and not share. Do you hate it when your pals dunk clams into your carefully balanced beef broth? Grossed out by your baby brother’s baby corn bobbing around in the soup? Well, you’re in luck: Shabu House individualizes this traditionally communal eating experience. Inside a brightly lit strip-mall storefront—about as far as you can get from a yurt on a windswept steppe—a long, oval open-ended bar is set with sunken aluminum pots, each with its own adjustable heating element, slotted spoon, and mesh strainer. The protocol and lore of the hot pot is ardently described on the menu, which is dense with a confusing number of options, but the servers are extraordinarily attentive—worried for you, even—if you don’t happen to be Asian. To get you started, they arrive with a pitcher of chicken or seaweed stock and an optional saucer of minced kimchi. The stock goes into the pot, and from there the method is simple: prime your roiling broth with chile paste or salt, add veggies and starch, swish the thin slices of prime or marbled beef or seafood in the broth, dip it in one of four sauces, and eat. Near the end, when the broth has absorbed the essence of all that’s bathed in it, you can throw in a portion of rice for "risotto." The attention to detail here is particularly appealing, given the affordability of the experience--noodles and terrifically plump, fresh dumplings are house-made, plates of protein and plants arrive artfully stacked and arranged, a tiny slice of citrus floats in each saucer of apple ponzu sauce. But there’s a lot of work involved in this kind of eating--and at this place you can’t just abdicate the development of your hot pot to another, more energetic diner. The toil might be better mitigated if BYOB was permitted, but no dice, soldier. Come prepared to cook.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$
Payment Type: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa


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