Hanashima Shabu Shabu
a new Shabu Shabu resto opened just this November 2005 called Hanashima on de la Gauchetiere and St-Urbain (chinatown). 514-396-4746
Clean, bright, nicely decor'd (rare for Chinatown). Individual hot pots. Meats are delicate and perfectly cut. Service was attentive the times that were quiet and apologetic when it was busy. Presentation is good. Inexpensive at $18 for the most expensive option, a large order of the beef shabu, which includes a more than modest size veggie platter, 15 slices of beef, iced coffee and choice of green tea or black sesame ice cream. Go for the black sesame!
The only complaint is that the setting is not ideal for conversation for groups larger than 4. And that choices in soups, and sauces were minimal.
Remember to ask for the off-menu seafood platter. Oh yes, the spicy soup is really spicy and I'm a moderate spice person!
Anyone have tried Shabu Shabu elsewhere in Montreal?
ps since my first post was posted way down in 2004 (replied to a 2004 msg) i'm reposting - sorry!!!
I've been to this restaurant many times over the last 6 months and I must the food is delicious and it is incredibly cheap if you go at lunchtime. for less than 10$ you can get a beef or lamb platter (there is a seafood and vegetarian selection as well, but I prefer meat for shabu shabu), and it comes with rice (you can get up to 3 bowls for free), ponzu and peanut butter sauce (excellent), vegetables and udon noodles. The service is consistently impeccable, the waitresses are always very attentive and efficient. You also get a green tea, red bean or sesame ice cream for dessert, plus delicious sweet coffee at suppertime. The fare for suppertime is just a couple of dollars more for the same platter. Worth checking out, since it's much better than the Mongolian Hot pot right across the street.
I doubt Hanashima offers a real Japanese shabu shabu... I've never been there, since I haven't heard good opinion about it.
Other places who offer less modified shabu shabu is "Osaka" and "Sakura" in downtown. These are run by Japanese, actually it's hard to find Japanese owned restaurant. But the problem is expensive and small...
So I prefer to go to "Shabu tatsu" in East Village, NY. They are so real!
FYI, shabu shabu is simple and minimal. Soupe with Konbu bouillon and dip sauce with Ponzu or Sesami. If they serve many kind of soup and sauce, It's totally different dish like Hot Pot which is Chinese.
The people were nice enough, but I was concerned about the portions (tiny). I mean, I'm a reasonable eater, but I was not full after finishing my entire plate of Shabu-Shabu+veggies. The meat quality wasn't very good either. They went as far as offering my friend the even "lower quality" meat for two dollars cheaper. I felt it was poor value, to be honest.