Beating the Shabu-Zen drum (long)
- oystershucker Apr 24, 2002 04:51 PM
Finally went to this gem after hearing about it from a friend and reading this board.
Run - don't walk - to Shabu-Zen.
Went with a friend and his wife (both work at two top restaurants in town; I used to cook with him at one of them). We wasted no time getting into it - ordered The Prime rib eye, Choice rib eye and short rib platters, in addition to lots of a la carte items. The meat was wonderfully marbled, sliced perfectly and absolutely delicious. To call it a sensual experience would not be an exaggeration. The surf clams were great as well.
The veggies were fresh, crisp and delicious, except for the out-of-season tomato (mealy, tough, tasteless). The watercress was a nice replacement to the traditional chrysanthemum, but maybe mitsuba would've stuck closer to the Japanese theme. (the owner is not Japanese, so I can understand why everything is not done traditionally.)
One item I missed was a ground sesame-based dipping sauce; usually shabu-shabu includes this in addition to the ponzu dipping sauce. The additional garlic, green onions and other condiments were a nice addition - I used them all.
The use of dashi in place of plain water is ingenious - the smell of bonito filled the air as it rolled to a boil. For some reason I couldn't get mine to stay at a simmer, even at its lowest setting and the pot filled close to the brim. So all it took was two quick swishes to cook the beef.
The waitstaff was attentive, competent, and courteous.
The manager was very nice as well.
I would go here again any time and would highly recommend a visit.