kaze or shabuzen
I'm planning a casual dinner for fifteen or so and thought that shabu-shabu would be fun. Would people mind weighing in on the pros and cons of Kaze and ShabuZen? I've had shabu-shabu but have never been to either restaurant. Will the size of the group make a difference? I've seen on other sites that shabuzen doesn't take reservations and only seats tables when they are complete. Is this true? Also, does either place serve alcohol (beer? sake?) Anf most importantly, which has the better broth and freshest ingredients? Thanks in advance for your input.
I haven't been to shabu zen... but it's not because I haven't tried. I've walked in the front door no fewer than 3 times and there is always a wait, and instead of waiting, I just go somewhere else. I most recently tried to go there within the last 3 weeks on a Sunday at ~5ish.
Kaze, I've been to twice, but not recently. I liked it a lot and they definitely have space and alcohol.
I used to work in the area and enjoyed Shabu Zen at lunchtime. Space is a bit tight with no separate area for a large group. However if you can and are willing to travel, Little Q on Hancock Street in Quincy has excellent broths, scallion pancakes and ingredients. They also have an alcove area that would comfortably accommodate a large party and they do serve sake and beer and take reservations. Let us know how this works out!
I have been to both and I would lean towards Kaze. They can accomodate a larger group more easily (they have multi-burner tables) but I would deffinately call ahead for a goup of 15 or so, Kaze also has a wider spectrum of protiens and broths. My last visit I had ostrich which was very good, but the prime rib eye was the favorite.
I don't know your level of familiarity w/ shabu-shabu, but as the meal progresses the community broth turns into a wonderful soup not to be missed. The wait staff will continually refill your hot pot. This can be a lot of fun with a group of people.
I have eaten at both, and hands down Kaze takes my vote. The portions are larger and fresher, the service is better, they can accommodate larger groups (they take reservations), and atmosphere- wise Kaze is just a nicer dining experience. Both places do serve alcohol, and I had a terrific sparkling Sake there recently.
I heard all of the recent raves about Shabu Zen, and I can honestly say I was underwhelmed and utterly dissapointed (been there twice now.) The service was awful, the seafood was NOT fresh (was fishy smelling and tasting, and not in a good way), and I found the portions to be entirely too small. I will never go back.
Just my .2 cents.
I used to go to Shabu-Zen all the time, until Kaze opened. I haven't been back to Shabu-Zen since. There is always a line there, and it's a much smaller place than Kaze. You will be much more comfortable at Kaze, and the food there is excellent. They have a much more interesting menu than Shabu-Zen, with items like Ostrich (which I like).
For a group that size, although Shabu Zen has a place in my heart, I'd recommend Kaze. More spacious, group friendly booths, great sake selection and competent wait staff.
I've been to both and much prefer Shabu Zen -- found the food to be of better quality and the service to be more attentive and friendly there. And Shabu Zen is much cleaner than Kaze, which has been known to let dirty tables sit for long stretches (which can also lead to back ups waiting for a place to sit).
thanks to all for the useful feedback. looks like kaze wins since they'd be much more accomodating for a large group. which leads to another question:
any recommendations on broths (or anything else for that matter) that should be tried at kaze?