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Best Shabu Shabu

  • c

Taking my dad for the first time, shabu-tatsu in the EV is a standby, any other favorites?

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  1. LAN in east village.
    I think they have the best shabu shabu in the city.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Macaroon

      I liked it, too. Here's a meal report:

      I've passed Lan many times but never knew anything much about the place until tonight.

      I was part of a party of four for dinner. We shared the following:

      Simmered Berkshire Pork Cheek with potato puree

      Organic Chicken & Scallions, Skewered & Grilled, with spicy yuzu pepper paste

      Shabu - Shabu with Berkshire Pork Belly and Prime Rib Eye Beef

      The pork cheek was deliciously smoky, very tender, and had apparently been marinated in a very tasty marinade. The chicken was very tender high-quality yakitori, and the paste had green chili in it. The shabu-shabu was again made with good meat, accompanied by various vegetables (Napa cabbage, shiitake slices, very good kombu, tofu, etc.) and we were given excellent sesame sauce and ponzu sauce for dipping.

      Our dinner was thoroughly pleasant and at $30/person, a good value.

    2. Debating between LAN, Shabu-Tatsu and Happy Shabu.

      (1) Quality of meat -- not too fatty and VERY tender
      (2) Fish options (if not for shabu, then in sushi) or lots of good vegetable options and maybe tofus for the one of us who doesn't eat meat.
      (3) Dipping sauces/broth options

      We really liked Swish when it first opened, but it has been a disaster for the past year, so we're hoping to find a new "regular" place to go to while we try to figure out where we could put our own shabu pot.

      1. Shabu Shabu 70
        314 E 70TH St Ste 1
        New York, NY 10021-8623
        (212) 861-5635
        Directions: 6 at 68th St.

        The environment here is clean and comfortable. They have the shabu shabu here and its been a neighborhood favorite for quite a while.

        1. I like Quickly Shabu Shabu on grand street between chrystie and bowery. Everyone gets their own personal hot pot (no funky foreign ingredients in the broth from your friends and its more personal). You have a choice of the sichuan soup, japanese plain miso broth or kimchi broth. The sichuan and kimchi broth both uses the japanese plain dashi broth but for the sichuan you get spice cubes to throw into your broth and for the kimchi you get a bowl of kimchi on the side to throw in. For the main entree you have four choices: Assorted 2 meats $12.95, vegetarian $13.95, sliced prime beef $14.95, surf and turf (shrimp,fish,oysters). Veggies, noodles, fishballs and a tapioca slush drink is included. You would have to order one entree before you could order from the A la carte menu. They also have a condiments area where you can create various sauces without having to ask the waiter. Plus for those who likes to use a raw egg yolk into their dipping sauce or to boil, its unlimited here with no additional charge. Service was great, my pot of soup was constantly refilled so I never needed to ask.

          8 Replies
          1. re: csw

            This is Chinese-style shabu-shabu, which is a bit different take on the Japanese original (which was taken from the Mongolian/Manchurian original anyway).

            1. re: Woodside Al

              shabu shabu is the name for the Japanese version of hotpot but I think the Chinese had hotpot before as well as 70% of their culture.

              1. re: designerboy01

                True, but Chinese calling it by the Japanese name "shabu-shabu" and serving it as a "Japanese" dish in "shabu-shabu" restaurants, as is done in Taiwan and in Chinatown here in NYC, is quite recent.

                But my point really was that the Chinese version served at "shabu-shabu" restaurants in Chinatown, as described in csw's post above, is rather different from the Japanese version talked about in the other posts on this thread. Japanese shabu-shabu generally features only beef, tofu, and vegetables (and some noodles to finish up).

                1. re: Woodside Al

                  I've been to Shabu-Tatsu and aside for the differences in ambiance and cultural differences, it all comes down to raw meat, tofu and vegetables cooked in broth.. with noodles to finish it up exactly.

                  Quickly offers your own personal cooking pot, counter of unlimited eggs, sauces, and garnishes, plus its less expensive and equally satisfying. And not to forget it comes with a free tapioca/slush drink.

                  1. re: Woodside Al

                    If it makes you feel better, I just returned from Beijing where there are plenty of restaurants who have added a Chinese twist to the name - they call it Xiabu-Xiabu.

                    1. re: Woodside Al

                      I think those Chinese or I should say Taiwanese restaurants got the name Shabu Shabu because there are a lot of Japanese influences in Taiwan culture. Taiwan was once colonized by the Japanese. That is why you may see a Taiwanese Shabu Shabu restaurant.

                      I'm chinese and I've eaten different hotpots. We usually end up with noodles, and we have it with beef, squid, liver, seafood, and veggies. Other regions in Northern China have it with lamb. Some people finish it with dumplings instead of noodles. I've been to an upscale Cantonese restaurant and its done with sharks fin as a soup base, served with abalone, fried fish skins, and other exotic seafood. There is also the traditional hotpot from Empress Dowager Cixi where chrysanthemum flowers are put for the frangrance. The point I'm trying to get across is that there are many different types of hotpots in China and you can't just compare Japanese with Chinese like that. I'm also sure there are many different types of Japanese hotpots these days that are served.

                2. re: csw

                  I'm a big fan of Quickly, as well. It is definitely Chinese Shabu Shabu, but it's pretty consistently good.


                  NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                3. i used to go to shabu tatsu on east tenth very often. but the last few times, it seemed like they were slicing the meat way ahead of time and keeping it frozen on the plate it's served on. or maybe they were just slicing it too thin... but the result was that the slices would stick to the platter and fall apart when you tried to pick them up, ending in a mush of beef on the chopstick. not so appetizing. anyone else notice this?

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: ndl

                    i love yakiniku juju on east 27th (or 26th) street. i found it to be delicious, and if you go sunday - thursday, i believe it $25.00 per person all you can eat.

                    1. re: jon

                      I don't see any reference to shabu on their menu on menupages -- do they have it on nights other than sunday through thursday?

                      1. re: kersie

                        they definitely have it. i've had it there. they also have regular bbq and sukiyaki which i like as well. get the sirloin and the short ribs. i've found that the chicken takes forever to cook and always burns.

                      2. re: jon

                        Speaking of Yakiniku Juju - the review on Vindigo says, "...you descend steps to a subterranean doorway. Then you pass through a low, narrow hallway, up a spiral staircase and, finally, into a small dining room of booths, each outfitted with a gas-powered grill (and a fire extinguisher)."

                        This place sounds to me like a somewhat claustrophobia-inducing fire trap, which is what keeps me from giving it a try. Is Vindigo's description right-on or might it possibly be at all exaggerated?

                        1. re: Deenso

                          id say it's not as bad as it says. yes you go downstairs, then down a hallway and up a spiral staircase, but once you're upstairs, there is a fairly big dining room. if you are more than 4 people, they'll seat you in a huge table with 2 grills and they'll make you take your shoes off. it's very home-y and although the service is always just ok, mainly because i don't speak their language, it's still a fun place to go (and certainly less of a scene/crowded then yakiniku west on 9th street).

                          1. re: Deenso

                            I had an unpleasant service experience at Yakiniku Juju. I went with a friend. I ordered the beef bbq $25 option and she was going to order the seafood option. They apparently only want people at the same table to order the same thing as they are very concerned that you will be sharing the food. We ended up walking out as they made such a huge stink about it. My friend's diet is limited to veg and seafood anyways. As much as I wanted to try this place, I've been turned off by that sour experience.

                            As for the setting, it is a bit claustrophic just getting inside, but once you're upstairs into the dining room, it's nice enough.

                        2. re: ndl

                          This is the same problem that we started noticing at Swish. I actually think it is quite common to freeze the beef at least partially to make it easier to slice, but it appeared they weren't letting it thaw out enough. Given this, I think we'll stay away from Shabu Tatsu!

                          1. re: ndl

                            I also notice freezer burns/discoloration in the raw meats section at japanese markets(shudder) which makes me wonder about their true "due date" and if they're merely just re-packaging it.

                          2. im a huge shabu shabu fan (at one point in my life, i thought i could eat shabu shabu everyday for the rest of my life) and tried many places. and one thing that's true for me is that "extra marbled" shabu shabu meat tastes much better than extra lean or regular. the fat in a very thinly sliced beef (and it must be sliced paper thin!!) makes it so much yummier. therefore, at most shabu shabu places in new york, i've found the meat to be rather too lean, and i prefer to make it on my own with the meat bought at a korean or japanese butcher shop.

                            it's actually very easy to make it at home (you do need the portable stove and a hot pot), and to be honest, the best shabu shabu i've ever had has been home made (not by me =( ).

                            1. i went to quickly a couple of months ago and had a pretty bad experience. for chinese hot pot (as opposed to japanese shabu shabu), i prefer happy shabu on canal and orchard. their sauce station is far superior with more ingredients than quickly. altho quickly has unlimited eggs, it was missing rice vinegar, white pepper, and a few other sauces among other things. the main sauce (i think its called sa cha?) was not refilled and there was no oil in it, making it hard to mix with anything else. quickly DOES give you more different things with your meal, that would cost more at happy, like udon (which is $1 for a big plate at happy) but there's like a $4 difference in price. yes, you get the free drink, but the waiter brought ours 2/3 through our meal, and after we asked him 3 times. the orders were wrong too, but we were too tired to tell him. everything we asked for, including water, took more than 30 minutes to come out, and he just seemed annoyed to be serving us. the bus boy, on the other hand, who was not chinese, latino i think, was very helpful and understood english much better. we wanted to give him all our tip. i was with chinese speaking friends and the waiter still seemed confused, or just didn't care. my friends liked their meal, but everyone agreed they wouldn't return b/c of the horribly poor service. also, i ordered dumplings, expecting the wontons i get at happy. they were not so. weird fish cake things that tasted terrible. one thing i did like about quickly was their choice of broths, i got kimchi, which was quite nice. my friends complained the szechuan spicy broth was not spicy at all. i think it was more like a boullion cube.

                              as for japanese shabu shabu, i prefer lan over shabu tatsu. but you can't beat the after midnight half price special at shabu tatsu on the weekends. depending on the waiter at both places, its sort of annoying that they won't do ojia at the end sometimes, which is a very traditional way to end a japanese shabu shabu meal. nothing beats a good home made shabu though.

                              korean korean, i've found the shabu shabu cut beef at korean and japanese markets to be fairly expensive. it almost makes the cost of the meal (after buying the 2 sauces) just as expensive, if not more, as eating out. do you have a special place you buy meat for a good price?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jungirl


                                yes, buying shabu shabu meat at a market is not cheap. in fact, i think it can cost just as much to make it on your own as it would to eat at a restaurant. plus, most places, like han-ah-reum market, has really horrible quality meat that's sliced thick and not at all shabu quality. however, if you can find the right butcher who knows to cut very thinly and with some marble in the meat, i find that making it at home actually tastes better than at lan or shabu tatsu or some places places i've tried. cuz, after all, shabu shabu is basically good meat in hot water, and all the sauces are really easy to make, and the veggies you just need to wash and set.

                                in NY/NJ, i found most korean markets to be not too good for shabu shabu meat, and even mitsuwa market kinda is horrible. but at this one market called "Good Harvest" (?) in Fort Lee, they have really good shabu shabu meat. i haven't tried smaller butchers in queens but i heard that they can be good too.

                                if you ever get a chance to go out to LA, try "gyushintei" in torrance for their fabulous extra marbled beef shabu shabu.


                                making the sauces is very easy and cheap. to make the lemon soy sauce, you just need to buy the lemon soy sauce (ha!) at any korean/japanese market (kikoman brand) and buy a radish that you will grate yourself using one of those japanese grating thingies (it's like $2.99 at the home section; it looks like a wide paddle with lil holes). just add the grated radish to the sauce, add the japanese red pepper if you wish.
                                i don't like the peanut sauce too much so i don't know how to make that, but i'm sure you can google it also.
                                and don't forget to add noodles at the end of the shabu meal to make noodle soup. add salt + pepper for the 'refreshing' aftertaste.

                              2. anyone ever try shaburi? I heard the shabu shabu is good, but i've never been

                                1. Shaburi is pretty good for shabu-shabu...nice decor and good quality meats and vegetables

                                  1. My take on the best shabu shabu in new york city is Quickly. I love their variety in broths, ingredients, as well as sauces. They also have a great drink selection that comes complimentary with your meal.

                                    To give you some context, I'm not such a fan of Japanese Shabu Shabu, as they are typically bland and limited in sauces. The meat quality at the Japanese places I have been to (Shabu Tatsu, Shaburi, and Shabu Shabu 70) have all been quite good, however the Chinese places have always had more flavor in their broths and sauces.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: tonkatsuuu

                                      Wow.. sounds like a good idea to get this type of food in winter time (or any time!). Speaking of Quickly, do you know what variety of broths they have? I walk past it all the time but never get a good opportunity to eat there. I should check it out next time I am in that area.

                                      1. re: bearmi

                                        OK I am a newbie to Shabu Shabu so I have a stupid question: do they also do this at Vietnamese restaurants? I was at a Vietnamese restaurant (Pho 32 on W. 32nd St.) and they appeared to be cooking their own food from hot pots. We are going to be in NYC again soon (I am from Philly) and my wife wants to try this but at a Vietnamese restaurant. Any thoughts? Recommendations? Should we go back to Pho 32? Thanks for helping the novice.....

                                        1. re: Schpsychman

                                          I have been to Pho 32 many times and ordered Shabu Shabu/Hot Pot there. I like their food but I am not 100% sure if their Shabu Shabu is "authentic Vietnamese". Although Pho32 is a Vietnamese restuarant, I think it might be more or less Korean-influenced because their food seems to be more "fusion" Vietnamese than the ones you find in traditional Vietnamese restaurants. From my limited knowledge about Vietnamese cuisine, I believe people in Vietnam do eat Hot Pot but their version of Hot Pot is different than the ones served at Pho 32. I consider Pho 32's version more "Japanese" (i.e.with plain broth) rather than "Vietnamese", which sometimes contains a sour/vinegary broth.

                                          I have not seen people order Hot Pot at Vietnamese restaurants in NYC before (at least not the ones in Chinatown) but perhaps other folks here would know better. However, I remember seeing someone ordering Hot Pot/Shabu Shabu at a Vietnamese restaurant in California years ago. I also think you might have to try Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC to check out authentic Vietnamese Shabu Shabu dishes there.

                                          From what I know, Vietnamese Shabu Shabu/Fondue dishes are sometimes part of "Bo Bay Mon" (Vietnamese "Beef Seven Ways"). There is a description of Vietnamese Shabu Shabu/Fondue in the link below. Looking at the article, I would conclude that Shabu Shabu from Pho32 would be different from the authentic Vietnamese version.


                                          Nontheless, I think Pho32 serves a descent shabu shabu. It is not as premium as some of the Japanese places and there probably aren't as many ingredients/sauce/broth varieties as Chinese places such as Quickly (I have yet to visit). But every time I go, the food was always fresh at Pho 32 and the service was descent.

                                          Hope this helps.

                                          1. re: bearmi

                                            I went to Pho32 last night, and thought their Shabu Shabu was quite good, especially for what it is. For $19, the portion size was so large, my friend and I shared one together. The dishes aren't anything spectacular but the ingredients are fresh, the broth is well flavored, and there are little Korean twists (e.g., hand-made flour noodles, spicy soy sauce and scallion mix).


                                          2. re: Schpsychman

                                            I've been to Pho 32, however, I do not recommend their shabu shabu. It's overpriced for the small portions. And, they dont have an extensive sauce selection.

                                            I've never seen Shabu Shabu served at a real Vietnamese restaurant.

                                      2. Quickly = clean and modern (the way Taiwan and HK cafes actually are, not dirty like NYC chinatown), your own personal pot, lots of veggies, plus a complimentary bubble tea or mixed drink from the tea station. All for less than the price of going to any of the other spots mentioned where you have to share the pot. The food is authentic and fresh.

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: asianbun

                                          wow.. another recommendation for Quickly.. I should really try to go there "quickly"! By the way, do you know what types of broth they have for the hot pot (plain, spicy, kimchee, etc.)? I tried to ask another person above but he/she hasn't answered my question yet.

                                          P.S. I like your comment about the cafe being clean and modern.. haha :)

                                          1. re: bearmi

                                            Their broth selection includes a plain (japanese dashi style), ma la or szechuan (it's sort of a numbing type of spicy..chinese style), and then kimchi (korean style)

                                            I personally recommend the szechan style, but be careful not to bite into the spices -- it can be quite unpleasant... the other favorite is the kimchi broth

                                            also, they give free eggs! (if youre an egg person)

                                            www.quicklyny.com is their website

                                            1. re: tonkatsuuu

                                              how are the portions? any all you can eat shabu shabu/hot pot options in manhattan? am aware of shanghai tide in flushing

                                              1. re: Whatsgood

                                                Portions are well sized for individual eaters although I usually share 3 sets amongst 4 people etc and get additional plates of things I like to eat, such as the fried chicken and the frozen tofu.
                                                Its a small place, and there's always only 1 server in the basement level everytime I go so he's kinda vague/lost/hassled. But the food is fresh and good value, and definitely recommended!

                                                An aside: I am actually looking for hotpot places with a big communal pot for Chinese New Year. Any recommendations?


                                                1. re: xigua

                                                  Do you mind going to flushing? Or, do you want to stick with Chinatown?

                                                  Flushing has more options..

                                                  Happy Family (http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...) (aka "Xiao Fei Yang" or "Little Lamb". Their broths are all herbal based. I especially like the "yuen yang" pot, which is spicy on one side and non-spicy on the other. The pot is about $20 bucks, but not enough for a lot of people, in which case you'll have to order a la carte. They also have an extensive drink selection.

                                                  Shanghai Tide. All you can eat hot-pot for about $24/person (I think that's including tip and tax). They also offer the half spicy/half non-spicy pot. Not herbal broth based. Also included in the all you can eat is fried dumplings, pan fried dumplings, soup dumplings, scallion pancakes, and others.

                                                  Hotpot King (?). The restaurant replaced a karaoke place called Black Swan. It's also all you can eat hot pot. The pricing varies depending on when you go and if you get karaoke with that. They, too, offer all you can eat dumplings, soup dumplings, etc..

                                                  In flushing, I would recommend Happy Family because it seems the cleanest of the three and I like the herbal broth. Although, Shanghai Tide has some really good soup dumplings and pan fried dumplings.

                                                  In Chinatown..

                                                  Grand Sichuan. It's around Canal and Christie St by the Manhattan bridge. I don't recommend this place because I feel like they put MSG in their broth.

                                                  1. re: tonkatsuuu

                                                    Has anyone tried Shabu Shabu 70 on the UES? I am coming in from Philly in mid-February and my wife and I want to try Shabu Shabu at a restuarant with a nice atmosphere, not necessarily one that looks like a cafeteria. Some of the places mentioned in this thread are very expensive Japanese restaurants and what I am looking for is fairly inexpensive and very tasty Shabu is a nicer atmosphere. Make sense? Any thoughts? Thanks!

                                                    1. re: Schpsychman

                                                      This is actually the only one in NY I've been to! Bland decor but good food. It's not a shabu place with the built-in ovens, rather than bring over a burner and put it on there tableside, plugging it in. I don't know if that turns you off from the food - it was kinda cheesy but gets the shabu done.

                                                    2. re: tonkatsuuu

                                                      I like Happy Family too. Their broths were very flavorful! I especially like the non-spicy one. I remember they had really good BBQ lamb skewers too... they were cumin-flavored. What do you think of Mini's Hot Pot (it's called "Yahoo Hot Pot" in Chinese)? I used to like it but then I noticed their portion size (especially meat) gets smaller and smaller... although the price is still pretty low... around $10 or $12 for a meal.

                                                      tonkatsuuu, other than Grand Sichuan and Quickly, are you aware of any other hot pot places in Manhattan Chinatown? I think Happy Shabu Shabu has closed down. Years ago I thought there was a BBQ/Hot Pot place there called "Yi Bai Ban"(for some reason I thought it's affiliated with XO Kitchen but I am kind of fuzzy about that) but I haven't seen any advertisement about it lately.

                                                2. re: tonkatsuuu

                                                  Thanks for the update. Glad you came to my rescue :) I will have to check out their website and I will probably go there next time I am in Chinatown! I like the options you have mentioned. Sounds yummy!!