Sarah met me at work on Friday, I showed her around the cube warren, then left early to get some food before going to a show.
Lyn had recommended some places, and pointed us to some review sites. Sarah found a place called Kaze that serves Shabu Shabu, which looked interesting, so we went there.
It was a short walk from where we parked to Chinatown, and to Kaze. We got there around 5 so it was pretty empty. The place is nice and clean, and has an upstairs and a downstairs. We were seated upstairs. I conjectured that “Kaze” meant “wind” since “KamaKaze” means “devine wind” (turns out I was right).
Shabu Shabu (named after the Japanese sound of beef cooking in the broth, sort of like “bubble bubble” crossed with “sizzle”) is interesting, and works like this:
There is a heating element on the table (a flat glass one in this case, like the stove in my kitchen). You order your base stock, and then order items to cook in the pot. All the items come uncooked (or ready-to-heat, in the case of some of the items) and you cook them by putting them in the boiling pot of broth. I ordered Japanese Curry stock, Sarah ordered the plain stock. The pot was divided down the middle, with a stock to a side.
I ordered beef and chicken, Sarah ordered the fish cake assortment. Each came with a plate full of veggies, and some little dishes with garlic, green onions, sauces, and hot peppers.
You also choose which noodles you want, I chose spinach noodles, Sarah chose udon.
You get a little spear, like a two-pronged trident (bident?) and a stick with a basket on the end. You use these tools to add things to and extract things from the boiling broth.
The meats are cut very thin, so it only takes a few seconds for them to cook.
It’s fun but a little messy, I managed to splatter some curry broth on my shirt, but otherwise stayed dry. The server guy kept coming by the table and reminding me to stir my pot so nothing sticks to the bottom. I’m stirring, dammit! =)
It was more food than we could eat, and pretty reasonably priced, I think it was $30 total for both of us, which is probably equal to what we’d have spent at some average place like Chili’s.
Oh, we also got green tea, which was *very* green. It was Japanese green tea, made from roasted rice, much more flavorful than Chinese green tea. It had a sort of grassy, sesame flavor which was good.