Shabu Shabu House
After waiting in line for over an hour and almost starving to death, I can say that it was absolutely worth it because the meat there was so flavorful and tender. And at $13.50 for a large portion, what a steal! (I think Mizu 212 is around $20 and the meat doesn't taste as good.)
I was alone, and not sharing a meal, when they charged me extra for the sauce refills. This happened on two separate occasions. Perhaps the waitress did not understand the new(?) rules, but I thought it was outrageous. I think $3.50 is an awful lot for those sauces, especially considering the meager amounts they do give. Every other shabu shabu place I have been to refills gratis.
I cannot answer your Zakuro question, because the first I heard of its closure for remodeling was via Micako's post above.
My husband and I used to frequent Shabu Shabu House at least once a week. But we got very tired of the long lines and the feeling of being rushed to finish our food in 15 minutes while hungry people were standing around by the entrance just glaring.
We live in Glendale and they just opened up a shabu shabu restaurant in the Glendale Marketplace called Boiling Point. IMO, the beef is better than Shabu Shabu House, their Goma sauce is the best I've ever had and their vegetable plate has alot of variety - 12 different kinds(although I've never counted...that's what the server told me). Prices are reasonable ($16-$20 range), service is excellent (the owner will almost always come and greet you) and the decor is very nice. They also offer tasty martinis, sake and beer. And because it's right by the movie theater, we usually have dinner and a few drinks and then catch the 10:00 show.
We're so glad that we don't have to drive out to Jtown or the Westside anymore to get our shabu shabu fix!~ I hope this place stays around for a long long time (or at least until we move). =)
112 S. Brand Blvd.
(in the Glendale Marketplace by the "frogs")
I've been to the Boiling Point 3 or 4 times now. I have been very disappointed with it. Yes, it's pretty, convenient, and the owner is very nice, but I felt it was more expensive for the amount of meat offered. But the reason I will not return is that they had begun to charge extra for sauce refills. And they barely give you enough sauce to get through the meal at the outset.
I too have waited for Shabu Shabu House and have given up and gone across the street to Zakuro. The service thereat Zakuro is fast and efficient, I love their sauces (and they usually come around and refill without you even asking), and I've never felt that the waitresses were making fun of me (though I don't speak Japanese). We'll see what kind of place it is after the remodeling.
Wow! Complimentary UCC Iced Coffee! Those were the days.
When they only charge $9 something for a large shabu shabu (worth $15-20 at other places) for lunch, expecting a complimentary iced coffee might be asking a little much. Since the cost of the iced coffee can is at least 50 cents.
It's by far the best value based on price and quality for Shabu Shabu in all of LA.
My favorite experience price excluded is Kagaya. It is a top notch experience at 4 to 5 times the price of Shabu Shabu House.
I've never been to Zakuro, but most everyone I know in the Japanese community does not recommend it almost cringing. Lower quality and less authentic. It's like the Crazy Fish of Shabu Shabu, people go but they don't know.
Rumor is Chinese or Korean owners are buying Zakuro during the closure. I think it's going to be similar.
With the amount of people waiting, it should be understood that it is not a place to talk after your meal, however they should be more polite.
Without the turnover, they would have to raise prices by 10-20%.
I just visited Shabu Shabu house for the first time in 6 years. My husband does not eat beef so I had to give up my beloved Shabu house for the close-by Zakuro, which does the non-traditional chicken option.
We had originally made plans to have dinner with friends at Zakuro and were shocked to see that it was closed for renovations. As a last minute change in plans, we decided to visit Shabu Shabu House - where hubby would get the Veggie option.
In the last 6 years things have changed, enough for me to be sorely disapointed in our experience. Yes, the sauces were just as good, but the lack of the 'included' iced coffee was a huge letdown. I really did enjoy the free UCC coffee that came promptly after your dishes were cleared.
The veggie option was also a bit of a let down. When they brought out the plate, there seemed to be barely anything on it. Some broccoli, onion, bell peppers, shiitake mushies and kabocha. That is all - the plate was SMALL and plate was the most visible thing when they set it down. There was no additional tofu for protein or anything of the kind. It was rather pathetic.
Additionally, as I was still eating out of my nabe, the bus boy came by with a trivet and placed my boiling pot on it. I still had some root veggies to cook up and I had to toss them in my husbands to finish.
Before we were even done with our meal we were being pushed out the door. The check was presented as our guests were still eating and the next clean pot and place settings were put next to them. The overall vibe was 'GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT'
What happened to this joint?
I can easily say that we will not be back. We will continue to frequent Mizu 212 which has an amazing veggie plate, overflowing with choices or Zakuro, where the Japanese servers are friendly and interesting and where the reggae rocks the house.
It's nice to hear a perspective when things were a little bit "better." my wife and I started going here about a year ago after seeing the long lines and yes, we noticed the "quick turnover" mentality there but just thought they're trying to accomodate as many people as possible, given the long wait outside.
Yet I prefer this place over Zakuro any day (I'll never go to Zakuro again). The young waitresses at Zakuro talk a little too loudly and like to make fun of the patrons (in Japanese). yeah it's cheap but you get what you pay for--a low level of professionalism. I don't want to feel bad for myself or others while trying to enjoy a meal.
Although maybe not the most authentic thing in the world, there is a seafood option at Mizu 212, on Sawtelle. It wasn't bad - and did include some fish, as well as shrimp and some shellfish. Again, not really authentic, but a good enough place if you wanna do shabu shabu with fishatarians.
Below is a link to a page with a picture of the seafood plate.
2000 Sawtelle Blvd
Shabu Shabu House is beef or veggies only, IIRC.
KAGAYA, which is closeby, does seafood variations on shabu shabu---crab, lobster, etc. Kagaya is very good, but very pricey.
Other Japanese restaurants may do a fish "nabe", which is similar to shabu-shabu (quickly cooking in boiling water, dip in ponzu), but I always just do this at home.
418 East 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
shabu shabu house is my and the gf's favorite shabu shabu place. the place has little atmosphere, but the food is a bargain! if only the wait wasn't so bad... which reminds me, a few weeks ago i noticed that they took down the large seating policy sign. "patrons must place name on the waiting list...restaurant reserves the right to seat patrons as we see fit... reserves the right to skip the patrons who do not stay nearby...those who are skipped must get on the waiting list again..." unintentionally hilarious!
this one time about 2 months ago, we were seated next to this young chinese woman, who upon getting her plate of sliced meat asked the gray-haired japanese guy to take it back and slice it thinner. you should have seen the initial look on his face. it was hard holding back the laughter.
anyway, great place as long as you don't mind waiting an hour during peak times. ahh, eating japanese food while listing to background country music... somehow weirdly fitting.
I used to live a couple blocks from there.. I've found that the best times to go are either 15 minutes before it opens, or about 20 minutes after. That way, you're looking at either being in the first crowd into the restaurant, or the second..
And not only is the meat flavorful- the goma (light brown) sauce is better than I've had at most places.
p.s. I once went down to write a buddy's name on the list for him an hour before he wanted to eat there with his girlfriend.. maybe making friends with someone who lives in Little Tokyo would help. :)